Opinion: Commentary: Balanced Budget with Tax Relief

Opinion: Commentary: Balanced Budget with Tax Relief

The 2019 session of the Virginia General Assembly has come to an end, and I am particularly proud of our work to provide tax relief, balance the budget, improve school safety, and pass non-partisan redistricting legislation.

The last time I wrote in, I had recently introduced my plan to reform Virginia’s tax code and prevent an unnecessary tax increase. Today, I am happy to say that legislation, HB 2529, is now law. HB 2529 is the most significant tax relief plan in 15 years, the second largest tax cut in Virginia history, and will provide Virginia taxpayers with nearly $1 billion in tax relief. Most importantly, it will put your hard-earned money back where it belongs — in your pocket.

Equally important, our General Assembly delivered on its constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget. Our 2019 state budget includes a 5 percent pay raise for our teachers, $85.7 million in new funding for K-12 education, $57 million to freeze tuition at our colleges, $19 million for broadband funding, and $13.5 million for workforce training and development. While no budget is perfect, we were able to provide vital services and makes smart investments in Virginia’s future.

At the recommendation of the House Select Committee on School Safety, we also prioritized school safety in the 2019 budget with $12 million in new funding for school resource officers, infrastructure, and other initiatives designed to keep our kids safe. That funding is in addition to over a dozen bills aimed at making our schools safer through counseling realignment, increased mental health services, and more training for our school personnel. These are common sense investments towards providing a safer atmosphere for our children at school.

Last but not least, I am proud to have voted for, and been a Co-Patron of, HJ 615 which is non-partisan redistricting legislation that will create an independent map making commission. As a constitutional amendment, this bill will need to pass one more session of the General Assembly before it can be presented to Virginia voters as a referendum, but I am pleased to have started that process this session. Ending partisan gerrymandering is a common sense and good government measure that I believe we should all applaud and one I look forward to working on in the future.

In addition to these efforts, I have a number of bills important to our district which are currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. One of those bills, HB 2527, would prevent tolls from being placed on Fairfax and Prince William County Parkways. I encourage you to learn more about that legislation, and my other bills, by visiting lis.virginia.gov or by contacting my office directly at 703-815-1201 or DelTHugo@house.virginia.gov. With session over, I also look forward to engaging you here at home and discussing these and other important issues facing our community and state.