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Youngkin's budget amendments include changes to education, abortion, and the gas tax

Jahd Khalil

Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled 38 budget amendments Wednesday evening. The amendments include recommendations on charter schools, prohibit the use of taxpayer money for abortions, and change which incarcerated Virginians are eligible for good behavior credits.

Earlier this month, delegates and senators formally reconciled their differences and passed a large budget which included much of Youngkin’s preferences, including $4 billion in tax cuts.

One of the most significant amendments Youngkin is seeking is a three-month suspension of the gas tax, which failed to pass the Democrat-controlled state senate. The governor’s amendment differs from the original proposal in that the gas tax would not phase-out over two months. The tax would be suspended in July, August, and September.

“With five-dollar gas prices and plenty of money in the system, I’m continuing the effort to lower gas prices for hardworking Virginians and my hope is, this time, that Democrats will join us to give Virginians a break this summer,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin in a statement announcing the changes.

Many of the governor’s recommendations concern education, such as expanding which teachers are eligible for a $1,000 bonus. There’s also $4 million for safety at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which is provided to institutions and nearby localities.

One of Youngkin’s changes would also expand the kinds of institutions that can run lab schools, which are similar to a charter school. Public community colleges, “public higher education centers, institutes, and authorities,” and institutions of higher education eligible for the Tuition Assistance Grant Program would also be included if Youngkin’s amendment passes.

Youngkin’s amendment prohibiting taxpayer money for abortion services would not apply in situations required by federal law.

The General Assembly will meet Friday to vote on the amendments. Republicans currently control the House of Delegates, and Democrats have a majority in the Senate. Much of Youngkin’s agenda failed to pass the upper chamber during the legislative session, including expansion of charter schools and the gas tax suspension, two of the largest changes Youngkin is seeking.

Youngkin’s aides said they were still determining the total fiscal impact of all the recommendations.

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

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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