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While Democrats Embarrass Virginia, Republicans Return $1 Billion to Taxpayers

It’s been quite the whirlwind week in Richmond, with new developments everyday that have unified Republicans and left Democrats divided. As a result, Republicans sense opportunity in the upcoming 2019 elections while Democrats can only try and make sense of what happened.

Of course, I’m referring to the deal reached to provide nearly $1 Billion [1] in tax relief back to Virginia taxpayers. What did you think I was talking about?

It’s unfortunate that the biggest piece of legislation this session has been lost in the shuffle of unrelenting news of Democratic scandals that have turned Virginia into a national joke (even featured on SNL this week). Without the embarrassing misdeeds of Democrats, perhaps all the attention in Richmond would be focused on the Republicans’ ability to deliver a huge win on tax cuts.

On the other hand, what better contrast is there than demonstrating the effectiveness of Republicans to deliver real benefits for voters, while Democrats struggle to put out the fires they started?

The tax relief bill, HB2529 [2], introduced by Del. Tim Hugo, offers a range of benefits to Virginia taxpayers. Details from the Republican Caucus include [3]:

Key Provisions of House and Senate Tax Relief Plan

– Returns all $976 million from increased individual provisions of TCJA

– Provides a tax refund in October 2019, $110 for individuals and $220 for couples

– Increases the standard deduction by 50% to $4,500 for an individual and $9,000 for a couple

– Maintains current state law on State and Local Taxes, preventing a double tax hike on homeowners

– Includes subtraction modification for Global Intangible Low-taxed Income (GILTI)

– Includes deduction for 20% of net interest expenses

– Places $80 million in Taxpayer Relief Fund and $229 million in permanent TCJA revenue in revenue reserve fund

Who is Affected and How?

– Over 4 million Virginia taxpayers will directly benefit

– Those making less than $50,000 will receive 40% of all rebate checks

–┬áThose making $100,000 or less will receive more than 70% of all rebate checks

– Married couples will receive $392 in tax relief over the next two years

Del. Hugo introduced the bill with nine co-sponsors, and the bill had a perilous track through the House as Democrats opposed the tax relief at every turn [2]. In the end, it required three party-line votes, including one out of committee, to get the bill passed and sent to the Senate. Vulnerable freshmen delegates from Prince William County, Hala Ayala and Lee Carter, voted against it in committee [4], which means so far they voted against the tax relief three times.

Senate leaders in both parties worked with Governor Northam, who was eager to deliver a bi-partisan win, and ended up with a compromise bill [5] that kept intact Hugo’s bill, included some minor funding for Democratic priorities, and completely eliminated the spending increases Northam originally proposed. That bill then passed the Senate committee unanimously, with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

The bill now needs to be passed in the full Senate and House before heading to the Governor’s desk for signature, and leaders in both parties are optimistic this will happen quickly.

The bill includes an immediate tax refund, delivered in October 2019: $110 for individuals and $220 for married couples. This means weeks before voters go to the polls to vote for their state legislators, they’ll receive their money back from the state thanks to Virginia Republicans, who have kept their eye on ball this session and delivered real results for the people, even while Democrats are creating headaches all around them.

When those checks arrive, House Democrats can explain why they were opposed to voters getting their money back. Perhaps Dawn Adams didn’t read it closely enough [6] again? Or perhaps Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman agree with Lee Carter’s socialist views [7]?

Regardless, Virginia voters sent a message in 2017. In response, Republicans have stepped up to the plate, while Democrats have floundered and mired us in scandal. The contrast heading into the 2019 election cycle couldn’t be more stark.