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Should Virginia index its income tax to inflation?

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MBandman / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/mbandman/23033039562
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Next month, Governor Glenn Youngkin will present his budget to the General Assembly.

Thunderstruck by AC/DC was topping the charts the last time Virginia updated its tax brackets. That's left low-income people holding an increasing share of the bill, a problem many people are trying to fix by making the tax code more progressive.

One suggestion is to index the income tax to inflation. But, Terry Clower at George Mason University says that's easier said than done.

"You then get into the complexity of which inflation measure is the right one to use and not only that, how do you make a single statewide number that really applies fairly across all jurisdictions," Clower asks.

Virginia is one of 13 states that does not currently index income tax brackets for inflation, and advocates for this reform have been pushing the idea for decades. But, Stephen Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says it hasn't worked yet.

"They don't want to give up the money. Inflation is a very wonderful thing if you are the government because your revenue continues to grow," explains Haner.

Governor Glenn Youngkin will be outlining his ideas for a budget next month, and then lawmakers will meet in January to start haggling out the details of next year's budget.

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.