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Republicans Look to Derail "Hidden" Tax Hike

Federal lawmakers are wrestling with how to handle a budget standoff over a wall at the southern border.

But reports, state lawmakers may soon be in the midst of their own budget standoff.

One of the results of the Trump tax cut is that it gives an incentive for wealthy people to take a standard deduction instead of itemizing their federal taxes. Under normal circumstances that would mean those people would also take the standard deduction on their state taxes instead of itemizing.

But Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox has a plan that would let people in Virginia take that standard deduction on the federal taxes but also itemize their state taxes, avoiding Governor Ralph Northam’s plan to spend that extra money on tax cuts for lower-income people and new money for schools.

“Just spending money in excess and especially making a lot of these out-year promises to me is, number one, not fiscally prudent," Cox said in a Friday conference call with reporters.  "And also it really puts a burden on the middle-class taxpayer because remember that you are paying for every one of these spending proposals on their back.”  Republicans have characterized Northam's spending proposals as a "hidden" tax increase.

Republican Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo says Democrats are too eager to tax and spend, and he says Republicans will head to Richmond next week with a goal of providing tax relief.  “House Republicans are offering a responsible plan to stop Governor Northam’s tax on the middle class and provide targeted tax relief to middle and low income Virginians without costing the state a penny,” Hugo said.

Democrats say the Republican plan is a reckless proposal that would shortchange education, transportation and public safety in order to benefit the wealthiest Virginians.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.