by Megan Schiffres
RICHMOND—The 2019 Virginia General Assembly session will convene Wednesday, January 9, at the State Capitol.
This session, members of the General Assembly will consider a package of amendments to the state’s $17 billion biennial budget proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam last month to increase state spending over the next two years by $2.1 billion dollars.
In a speech to the joint money committees, Gov. Northam outlined the proposed amendments including a 1% bonus for state-supported local employees, and a raise in teacher salaries across Virginia by 2%. Gov. Northam’s proposed amendments also include allocations of $36 million to increase the number of counselors in Virginia schools, $15 million to fund need-based tuition assistance for students in public four-year institutions, $46 million to help get broadband access to Virginians who don’t already have it, and an investment of $75 million in the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank to help fund projects across the Commonwealth.
These proposed increases to Virginia’s biennial budget are expected to be funded by recent changes to the federal tax code through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which made minor reductions to income tax rates for most individual tax brackets but favored the wealthy and significantly reduced income tax rates for corporations from 35 to 21%…..