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

Even with some Republican support, Senate can't override Youngkin's veto of school construction tax option

Virginia Middle School in Bristol was built in 1916.
Bristol Virginia Public Schools
Virginia Middle School in Bristol was built in 1916.

Schools across Virginia are crumbling, which is why Senator Jeremy McPike of Prince William County introduced a bill to allow local governments to impose a sales tax to finance school construction.

"And no part of the Commonwealth is exempt from this issue," McPike told fellow Senators Wednesday. "We're all struggling, suburban, urban, rural, Southwest, Southside, Northern Virginia, the Valley. We are all in this together, and this is a tool in the toolbox for localities that is desperately needed."
Some Republicans supported the original bill. And a few, including Senator Bill Stanley of Franklin County maintained that support despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin's veto of the legislation. But McPike, a Democrat, and Stanley were unable to persuade enough of them to get a supermajority vote to override the governor's veto.

Republican Senator David Suetterlein of Roanoke supported Youngkin's veto. "I appreciate so many of my Democratic friends earlier in the year agreeing that the sales tax is regressive, and that we ought not add to the sales tax burden on the working people of Virginia. And the legislature was correct then," Suetterlein said before voting to sustain Youngkin's veto. "Unfortunately, it looks like some folks in the legislature feel differently on this one."

 Local governments won't be adding a new sales tax for school construction anytime soon, although lawmakers are expected back here at the Capitol in May for a special session to craft a budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

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.