Leahy: Glenn Youngkin Finally Releases a Policy Agenda, With the Clock Winding Down
It took much longer than it should have, but Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has unveiled a laundry list of policy ideas he promises to pursue if he wins the state’s top political job.
According to The Post’s Greg Schneider, the Youngkin plan rests on what used to be a Republican article of faith: tax cuts. Youngkin goes fairly big, proposing a “package of one-time tax cuts totaling some $1.8 billion and recurring tax cuts amounting to about $1.4 billion per year.”
Tucked inside Youngkin’s proposals are ideas that have been knocking around for decades in Republican and Democratic circles. And even one that took root in the Republican boogeyman state of California.
Top among the bipartisan oldies is Youngkin’s desire to repeal Virginia’s tax on groceries. Virginia is one of a handful of states that taxes groceries, a policy the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says has an “especially harmful impact on income and racial inequities since low-income families tend to spend a larger share of their income on groceries.”
Repealing the tax was an issue for former governor Doug Wilder (D) too, which means Youngkin has put on the table a tax cut that progressives (and even Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former governor Terry McAuliffe) should not only agree with but also readily embrace.
But more intriguing is Youngkin’s property tax roll back. As Schneider reported:
The Youngkin plan also calls for changes to the way localities handle personal property tax. Currently, if the assessment of a home goes up, a locality can easily keep its tax rate the same, meaning the homeowner pays more on the higher valuation. Youngkin would propose requiring that tax rates go down when assessments go up, unless voters in a locality approve otherwise.
There are a lot of moving parts here and even more history.
In a Facebook post, longtime Virginia political observer Bob Holsworth wrote that the property tax proposal is Youngkin’s “direct appeal to homeowners frustrated with rising assessments.”
And make no mistake: These are frustrated suburban homeowners who were once reliably Republican voters.
As Holsworth rightly noted, targeting a despised local tax is exactly what former governor Jim Gilmore (R) did with his pitch against the car tax in the 1997 gubernatorial election.