Happy New Year!

You best enjoy the New Year this week because there will be a lot of changes coming in the General Assembly session that begins next week. The Governor has proposed a budget that spends billions of new tax dollars. Just hours after that, this was followed by the new Speaker of the House designee offering her vision of Virginia in the coming years. For those of us that grew up in Virginia and chose to stay here and raise our families, it will be a culture shock if even half of what has been proposed were to become law.

Budget

This week I will focus on the highlights of which the Governor spoke. About $840 million dollars of his proposed new spending has been tax receipts received into the state treasury before the end the fiscal year ending in June. He neglected to point out that the reason for that is the change in the tax law that President Trump pushed through in 2017. Neither did he give the President credit for the booming economy that directly relates to the positive attitude of business leaders after the eight dismal years in which the Obama presidency talked down hopes for a strong economy in the future. The only indication that the administration even acknowledged that the national economy was strong was when the Secretary of Finance stated that the Virginia economy was tracking the national economy.

Governor Northam proposed the $340 million from the federal tax code changes be lumped into the General Fund of the state rather than be held for the Taxpayer Relief Fund as the Senate Republicans provided for last year. Not only is the economy strong, resulting in record tax revenues, the Governor wants to spend more. He is proposing an increase in the cigarette tax of 30 cents a pack. You will hear more about this tax increase and others in the coming weeks.

We love to hear from you! You can reach us at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, 434-374-5129, or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.

To read the entire article pick up the Jan. 1, 2020 edition of the Brunswick Times-Gazette.