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Legislators left Richmond without a budget. What happens next?

Herring Bell
Steve Helber
Virginia Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, left, talks with Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, during the House session at the Capitol Friday March 11, 2022, in Richmond, Va.

Republicans who run the House and Democrats who run the Senate are divided over how to spend the unprecedented budget surplus available this year. Republicans want tax cuts; Democrats want services.

House Speaker Todd Gilbert says he's disappointed Senate Democrats didn't want to stay in town and resolve their differences. "I think there are whole series of reasons why the Senate has gone a little sideways this year," Gilbert said Saturday. "I think first and foremost and most perhaps telling and most unfortunate is that they appear to be averse to some of the tax relief that the governor has proposed."

House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn says the debate over money shows a difference of approach between the parties. "We're focused on education, transformational change and providing relief to those who need it most because of this pandemic and these crises that we've been going through. And unfortunately there were stark differences," she said.

Both chambers agreed to a resolution Saturday that allows the budget bills and several dozen other measures that were still being negotiated to be carried over to a special session. While most lawmakers headed home, budget negotiators will continue their work this week.

Republicans are pushing to eliminate the grocery tax while Democrats want to keep part of it. Republicans want to double the standard deduction while Democrats want to study that idea before moving forward. And one more thing, Republicans want to delay an increase to the gas tax while Democrats say that money is needed to fund transportation projects.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin didn't offer a specific date for when he wanted lawmakers back in Richmond but said he expected progress to be made quickly.

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