Legislature may escalate ‘unfunded mandates’

Jackie Nunnery

by Jackie Nunnery

RICHMOND—Over the next few months, many numbers will be thrown around locally as county supervisors and school boards prepare budgets for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Something else that will probably get tossed around? The term “unfunded mandates.”

A timely example is the bipartisan push to eliminate the 2.5% grocery and essential hygiene products tax in Virginia. The 2.5% is made up of a 1.5% state portion and a 1% local option sales tax. The state then distributes 1% of its portion to localities based on their school-age population for school funding.

That potential loss of revenue to local school districts is a concern across the Commonwealth. “The state has built-in hold harmless provisions under the biennium budget but no guarantees after that,” said Jason Bellows, president-elect of the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and member of the Lancaster County Board of Supervisors. If history is a predictor…[to-view-more]