On Friday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced the legislation, budget amendments, and initiatives he will be supporting to further his Day One Agenda priorities.

“Today, I am proud to share the more than 59 pieces of legislation and a package of more than 25 budget amendments that I will be supporting. These reflect bipartisan priorities like fully eliminating the grocery tax, doing more to train and equip our workforce, and providing funding to create 20 new innovation schools across the Commonwealth. These initiatives will make Virginia’s communities safer, restore academic excellence, lower the cost of living, and I look forward to seeing these bills come to my desk,” said Youngkin.

So, let’s take a look at what he’s proposing.

He wants to double the standard deduction for taxpayers. The standard deduction will increase from $4,500 for single taxpayers and those married filing separately, and $9,000 for married filing jointly to $9,000 and $18,000, respectively.

Also included in his proposed budget amendments is $287 million in fiscal year 2023 and fiscal year 2024 for military retirement. This proposed legislation provides for a $20,000 subtraction in tax year 2022, $30,000 in tax year 2023 and $40,000 in tax year 2024.

Another would provide a one-time tax credit for small businesses, which I’m sure they could all use after the past couple of years. When COVID-19 hit, many of them had to close their doors due to regulations. Some still struggle to find workers. They need a break.

Also included is a one-time rebate of $300 for individual tax filers and $600 for joint filers.

A total of $1,500,000 is included for fiscal year 2023 and fiscal year 2024 to cover funding for five positions to support the Office of the Chief Transformation Officer.

Youngkin also appointed Elizabeth Chu as the Chief Transformation Office.

In this role, Chu will help to guide Virginia ABC’s transformative efforts to ensure priorities and objectives are met, overseeing the project management, business transformation, and diversity, equity and inclusion offices, according to a press release by Virginia ABC.

Another budget amendment includes $29,450,000 in fiscal year 2023 and $54,450,000 in fiscal year 2024 to retore funding for Go Virginia’s existing grant programs and establishes and funds a new “talent pathways.”

I think this is definitely needed. A pipeline for students to determine what is they enjoy doing and/or are good it and want to pursue as a career is always a plus.

Adding to that, another $8,000,000 in fiscal year 2023 and $24,000,000 fiscal year 2024 adds funding for the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership Program under the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. This program would expand paid or credit-bearing students internships and other work-based learning opportunities.

Anytime a student is able to go out into the real word and receive hands-on experience, I think they have a better chance of understanding the career that they’re exploring. I interned at the Gazette before I started working here, and I definitely learned a great deal.

Another proposed budget amendment increases funding for the business ready sites program to $20 million each year. Another provides $150 million over the Biennium for the creation of new Laboratory Innovation Charter Schools.

A total of $9,000,000 each fiscal year is being proposed to expand programming by the Department of Veterans Services for direct services to veterans. Veterans, who risked their lives for our freedom, deserve all the help and resources they can get.

Looking to funding for law enforcement, Youngkin is proposing $100,000,000 in fiscal year 2023 to provide American Rescue Plan Act funding for one-time grants to state and local law enforcement for training and equipment.

Another also would add the State Police Training Academy Replacement Project to the list of capital projects eligible for construction funding.

Police, who also risk their lives daily, also deserve all the support they can receive.

I didn’t get to quite all the proposed budget amendments, but those are some highlights. The full list is online.

We’ll see what makes it through the House and Senate.

Ashley Conner is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at aconner@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com