Taxes, abortion on agenda as Virginia lawmakers back at work

Taxes, abortion and energy policy are among the issues the Virginia General Assembly is expected to debate when it convenes Wednesday for its annual Legislative Session.

But expectations on how much could be accomplished are modest, given that every legislative seat in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and the Democratic-held Senate will be on the ballot this year.

Lawmakers will work on revising the two-year-budget they approved last year. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin outlined his proposed amendments in December, asking for another $1 billion in tax cuts, in addition to the $4 billion in tax relief he has already signed into law.

The state is expecting a $3.6 billion surplus for fiscal year 2023. Republicans have praised Youngkin’s proposal, which includes a corporate tax rate cut, while Democrats have instead called for making the earned income tax credit fully refundable.

Lawmakers will also debate how the state should regulate abortion, for the first time since the Supreme Court decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade.

Youngkin has said he hopes to pass a 15- or 20-week ban with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. Such a bill faces a difficult path. It would need to clear a committee disproportionately stacked with Democrats, who have promised to vote down any abortion restrictions, before advancing it to a floor vote, where the chamber is more closely divided on the issue.

The Legislative Session is scheduled to begin at noon Wednesday, followed by Youngkin’s annual State of the Commonwealth address. Legislative Sessions in odd-numbered years last for at least 30 days and are typically extended to 46 days.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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