Leahy: Grading Virginia’s General Assembly Session

The Virginia General Assembly’s regular session has ended, and the worthies have (temporarily) left Richmond to its own devices.

Normally, this would mean handing out grades for the various political performers, new and old alike, and gearing ourselves up for the real show this year: the November congressional elections.

But the General Assembly will soon have to return to RVA to finish its most important job: completing the state budget.

Until the budget is settled — and, chances are, it might only take a brief amount of time to close the gaps between the Republican House, the Democratic Senate and Fox News regular Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) — the most important grade is incomplete.

The incomplete grade can also be applied to the new governor’s agenda. Yes, Youngkin made early waves, using executive orders to pay off his campaign promises to end school mask mandates and block teaching of critical race theory and “inherently divisive concepts.”

But legislative efforts to codify the last item failed in the Senate. A lot of Republican legislative items failed in the Senate. From loosening restrictions on guns to abortion bans and rolling back the minimum wage or reimposing a photo identification requirement to vote, the House GOP ran into a blue brick wall, of which Democrats are unpardonably proud.

A solid A, then, to Democrats for holding their ground and, not that either side will ever admit it, saving Republicans from their own worst instincts.

Another of Youngkin’s big items — cutting taxes — is incomplete, too. The House and Senate agreed to end the state’s 1.5 percent share of the tax on groceries. But the Youngkin proposal was to end it entirely — all 2.5 percent.

The House agreed. The Senate allowed the 1 percent local portion of the tax to survive. Similarly, the House approved Youngkin’s idea to double the standard deduction for state income taxes. The Senate wants to study it some more.

Continue reading here.

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