© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In State of the Commonwealth address, Youngkin calls for tax cuts, 15-week abortion ban

Virginia Gov Youngkin delivers his State of the Commonwealth address to a joint session of the Virginia legislature in the House chamber in Richmond, Va., Wednesday Jan. 11, 2023.
John C. Clark
Virginia Gov Youngkin delivers his State of the Commonwealth address to a joint session of the Virginia legislature in the House chamber in Richmond, Va., Wednesday Jan. 11, 2023.

As he begins his second year as governor, Glenn Youngkin says Virginia must move faster.

During his annual address to the General Assembly Wednesday afternoon, Youngkin reiterated his call to quickly become more competitive with peer states like North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

That means increasing workforce skills and prepping more economic development sites.

"But for the Commonwealth to become truly competitive with our neighboring states, we are going to have to systematically move to lower taxes," Youngkin told legislators. "The revenues are there to lower tax rates. We can keep Virginians here, we can attract people and businesses from other states and we can drive further growth."

Read Youngkin's full address

The proposal Youngkin laid out Wednesday includes tax cuts for individuals and businesses, elimination of the tax on military retirement income, and doubling the standard deduction. When combined with last year’s tax cuts, Youngkin said 47,000 working Virginians would have their tax liability eliminated entirely.

Youngkin said there was bipartisan support momentum for more tax relief this session.

He got bipartisan applause for his call to invest $230 million in the first step of a three-year plan to transform Virginia’s behavioral health system.

But his call to restrict abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy was less well received by Democrats. "It is clear Virginians want fewer abortions, not more," Youngkin said.

Youngkin also promised to sign legislation that would classify providing drugs that result in a fatal overdose felony homicide. His Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam, vetoed similar legislation.

Some legislators question Youngkin's attacks on China

When governors present their annual State of the Commonwealth Address, they don't usually focus on foreign policy. But Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin took aim at China, saying he wants to see lawmakers to prohibit foreign entities tied to the Community Chinese Party from purchasing Virginia farmland.

Democratic Senator Jeremy McPike says that's ridiculous. "It's a horrendous attempt to act like Trump in Virginia's capitol," McPike said. "It's a bizarre throwback to China policy. In fact, he needs to divest all his stock in Carlyle. Carlyle invested $10.5 billion in China this year. So if he believes that, he needs to sell all his Carlyle stock today."

Some legislators question Youngkin's attack on China
Michael Pope reports

Speaking to reporters after the speech, Youngkin said his experience doing business with China at Carlyle makes him uniquely positioned to understand how the country works.

Republican Senator Bill Stanley of Franklin County says he appreciated that part of the speech. "We have to be honest with ourselves. Communist China is infiltrating everywhere throughout the United States," Stanley argued. "It's on your children's phone. It may be on your phone on TikTok or another app. They're buying Smithfield Ham. They own property in Virginia. And I think it's very important to be mindful that we want growth in Virginia but we don't want a country that sees us as its enemy to have a foothold in the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Youngkin is often mentioned as a potential candidate for president, and his critics say he's trying to use his position as governor to score points on the national stage by dabbling in foreign policy.

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

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.
Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.