Opinion — Surplus indicates taxes in state are too high

Published 4:35 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

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Virginia is seeing its second consecutive multibillion-dollar revenue surplus. The fiscal year ended on June 30 with a surplus of about $1.94 billion, bolstered by federal aid and a speedy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, the largest contributor to the state’s source of revenues were non-withholding income taxes from investors and self-employed Virginians. Nearly 10% increases from both payroll withholding and sales taxes have also added to the surplus, driven by a labor market that has produced almost 80,000 jobs since January.

These preliminary fiscal results will be finalized Aug. 19, at which time Gov. Glenn Youngkin will address the General Assembly’s Joint Money Committee. Gov. Youngkin believes the surplus is evidence that Virginians have been overtaxed for too long and remains committed to his campaign promise of lowering taxes for residents of the Commonwealth. With inflation hitting an almost 40-year high, the $4 billion in tax relief proposed by Gov. Youngkin couldn’t have come at a better time. This also marks the largest tax relief in the history of the Commonwealth.

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While there is still much work to do for the pandemic recovery, there are some promising economic developments on the horizon. This includes the movement of Boeing and Raytheon headquarters to Virginia, as well as a new LEGO Group manufacturing plant in the state.

With inflation driving up the cost of energy across the country, Dominion Energy is partnering with local agencies to weatherize homes under the EnergyShare program. This program also provides bill payment assistance in crisis situations and has sponsored Senior Cool Care – a program administered by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

Virginia customers can visit https://www.dominionenergy.com/virginia/billing/billing-options/energyshare or call 2-1-1 for a referral to their local EnergyShare program. A list of participating Senior Cool Care agencies is available by contacting the Virginia Department for the Aging at 1-800-552-3402.

Gov. Youngkin is celebrating National Hire a Veteran Day by welcoming Walmart as a Certified Virginia Value Veterans (V3) employer. In addition to relieving veterans of unnecessary taxes on their retirement funds, V3 will continue to focus on creating further employment opportunities for the more than 700,000 men and women that have served our armed forces.

Since V3’s creation in 2013, more than 96,000 veterans have been hired by committed partners of the program that includes businesses, government agencies and education institutions. The program helps employers develop strategies and best practices in recruiting, hiring and training of Virginia veterans and military spouses.

V3 is part of the Virginia Department of Veteran Services (DVS). The Virginia DVS dates back to 1928 and was established to assist Virginia’s World War 1 veterans. Today, they continue to assist veterans today with filing for federal veteran benefits, behavioral healthcare, housing and employment. The agency also operates facilities that provide short-term rehabilitation, memory care and residential nursing care.

For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov or www.dvsV3.com.

Del. C. Matthew Fariss represents Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov.