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What to expect from Youngkin's "legacy budget"

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin speaks at an event in April 2023.
Eugene Hoshiko
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin speaks at an event in April 2023.

Virginia has a two-year budget, which means that Governor Glenn Youngkin spent the first half of his time as governor revising and amending a budget he inherited from the previous governor. Now he'll finally get a chance to put together his own budget proposal -- a document often called the "legacy budget" because it's a governor's one and only shot at putting together a balance sheet from beginning to end.

Finance Secretary Stephen Cummings says the December budget proposal won't have all that stimulus money from the pandemic.

"Clearly the lower end of our socioeconomic strata, the spending of the excess pandemic savings is clearly dwindling quickly if not already gone," Cummings recently said. 

Bill Leighty was chief of staff to Governor Mark Warner, and he says that federal stimulus money had a lot of strings.

"All of the federal money has got very prescribed uses, and didn't give him a lot of latitude in the first place nor the General Assembly but it did fill the coffers particularly in the education realm, construction area, maintenance reserves and things like that. I don't think that it's going to define his budget," Leighty predicted.

Tax cuts and education spending are likely to be key points of discussion as the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate consider Youngkin's legacy budget in January.

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.