February 25, 2022
Virginians awoke Thursday to sobering reports out of Ukraine. While a large-scale modern war dominated the news, the General Assembly nevertheless turned attention to the task at hand: our Commonwealth’s budget. Thursday was a long day on the House floor as members deliberated the proposed spending plan.

The budget process can be procedurally confusing. The initial budget is generated in December by the sitting Governor (in this case, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam). The House then uses that budget as a starting point.  Early in the legislative session, all House members are able to request amendments to remove or add spending proposals to this proposed budget. House Appropriations Committee members then consider these requests and eventually recommend the amendments that fund legislative initiatives and reflect the policies and intent of the House.

These recommended amendments are then heard on the House floor, where members may offer objections or offer their own new amendments. Unsurprisingly, this process can be lengthy and tedious, as the one hundred House members all carry different political and policy priorities. After a long floor session punctured by numerous speeches, the amended House budget was passed on a bipartisan vote of 74-Y 25-N. This is simply one step in the budget process, and much work remains to be completed at this time.
What's in the House budget?
The House budget funds many of the policy priorities championed by Governor Youngkin and by House Republicans. Following is a brief overview:

Tax relief for Virginians
  • Tax rebates of up to $300 for individual filers and up to $600 for joint filers
  • Elimination of the grocery tax (while holding local governments harmless)
  • $515 million in income tax relief for veterans
  • Suspension of the gas tax increases
  • Doubling of the standard income tax deduction


  • 4% pay raises for teachers
  • School construction grants for aging and crumbling schools
  • Funding for the Virginia Literacy Act
  • Development of innovative laboratory schools with Virginia’s colleges and universities

Public Safety
  • Funding to place a resource officer in every Virginia school
  • Pay raises for law enforcement and corrections officers
  • Funding for “Operation Ceasefire,” a program proven to decrease violence in communities
What's next for the budget?
The Senate has completed a similar process with their version of the budget. Unsurprisingly, the Democrat-led Senate has outlined different spending priorities. In addition to other variations, the Senate budget includes much less tax relief for Virginians. The House and Senate must now collaborate to reconcile their different budgets. The deadline to complete work on the budget is Saturday, March 12; however, there is always a chance that the date may need to be extended. Stay tuned.
Post-crossover legislative update
House bills are currently being heard in the Senate, and the results are unsurprising. All efforts to bolster voter confidence in elections were killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee (including my bill to allow Virginians to opt-in to showing photo identification when voting). Education reform legislation is likewise meeting stiff opposition. Bills to tackle Virginian’s high energy costs are also being quashed by Senate Democrats’ allegiance to pricey green energy mandates.

In other words, no surprises. 
Approximately two weeks remain until scheduled adjournment on March 12. As committees complete their work, attention will turn to ironing out differences between the House and Senate versions of bills. Visitors are welcome during this time, and the lessened meeting schedule allows for more time with guests. If you are in Richmond, please do not hesitate to stop by the Capitol. Our office is located in Room 432 of the Pocahontas Building at 900 E. Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219. As always, we remain available to assist with constituent service. If you have a problem with a state-related matter or agency or would like to set up a virtual meeting, please contact my legislative aide, Ms. Dayle Brittain by phone at 804-698-1096 or by email at [email protected].

Enjoy your weekend!
Contact Delegate Batten
Legislative Aide: Dayle Brittain
Mail: P.O. Box 194, Norge, VA 23127
Phone: 757-741-7001
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Amanda Batten