General Assembly Budget Update
Dear <<First Name>>
The 2019 session is entering its final weeks but what a busy week it has been here at the Capitol.
House & Senate agree on $1 billion in tax relief
Republicans in the House and Senate have agreed on the terms of a $1 billion tax relief package, the most significant tax relief plan in at least 15 years and the second largest tax cut in Virginia history. The legislation is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate on Monday, then forwarded to Governor Northam.
The bicameral compromise will provide $420 million in tax refunds to Virginia taxpayers in October of 2019, increase the standard deduction by 50% beginning in tax year 2019, and maintain the current rules for state and local taxes. The total package will guarantee at least $976 million in tax relief and ensure that all additional revenues from the permanent provisions of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are placed in the state’s cash reserve fund. The legislation also conforms Virginia tax law to the federal law but will not include an emergency clause.
Under this plan, married couples will receive a tax refund check of up to $220 in October and beginning next year, will receive $173 in tax relief on their state taxes, for a total of $400 back over the next two years. This is simple, direct and meaningful tax relief.
House of Delegates passes responsible and balanced budget amendments
This week we passed amendments to the two-year budget that eliminates all spending based on higher taxes proposed by Governor Northam and includes additional investments in public education, school safety, higher education, and economic development. During the budget debate, we saw a fundamental difference between House Republicans and House Democrats. They want to spend excess revenues in an attempt to increase the size of government, while we believe the money should be returned to the taxpayers.
The budget also identifies $120 million in healthcare savings, strengthens taxpayer protections in the Medicaid forecasting process, eliminates unfunded liabilities and saves $729 million in state spending over the next 25 years.
Included in the House budget proposal is language that requires the Department of Medical Assistance Services to study and determine the most effective pharmacy benefit delivery model in Virginia. Several states recently found that existing contracts with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are costing taxpayers millions of dollars. This happens when PBMs charge the state a higher amount than what they reimburse a pharmacy for filling a patient’s prescribing. Over the past two years I have worked to bring greater transparency to PBM practices. I look forward to the results of this study and making sure we do what’s in the best interest of local pharmacists and Virginia taxpayers.
This is a responsible budget that puts taxpayers first. We have also supported a tax plan that gives millions back to taxpayers. I hope our Democrat colleagues will realize you deserve to spend your own money, not government.
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelTPillion@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804) 698-1004.