The month of May flew by quickly! This newsletter has an update on the reconvening of Special Session I on and what to expect with the state budget and the few remaining conference bills. Keep reading for other updates, events, and news from across the Commonwealth and the 93rd district.
Reconvening Special Session I on June 1
The Speaker of the House announced that the House will reconvene for a meeting of the 2022 Special Session I at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 1. We anticipate coming together to move forward with the two-state budget bills House Bill 29 and House Bill 30, in addition to any conference reports continued from the 2022 Regular Session that were carried over the Special Session in accordance with House Resolution 455.
Budget conferees have reached a final compromise on the 2022-2024 biennial budget. The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis provides a helpful breakdown you can view online here. The conferee budget reached this week would cut taxes by $4 billion over three years, increase state employee and teacher pay by 10% over two years plus a $1,000 one-time bonus using federal funds and contribute up to $470 million in state funds to widen a 29-mile stretch of Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg.
Here are some of the other highlights:
- State Income Tax Deal– an increase of the standard deduction from $4,500 to $8,000 for individual taxpayers and from $9,000 to $16,000 for families. It also includes one-time rebates of $250 for individual taxpayers and $500 for families this year, a 78% boost in the standard deduction on state income taxes, a larger deduction for military retirement income, and a refundable tax credit for low-income working families. Along with raising the exemption on military retirement income to $40,000, phased over four years.
- School Construction- The budget invests $1.2 billion in school construction grants and loans, one of the largest investments in modern Virginia history. This includes $450 million for the School Construction Fund to distribute grants to localities for school construction and modernization needs. It also includes $400 million for the School Construction Grants Program and $400 million to the state Literary Fund, which distributes loans to schools.
- Grocery Tax- Virginia currently imposes a 1.5% tax on groceries and allows localities to impose an additional 1% tax for local spending items. The agreement calls for cutting the 1.5 percent state tax on groceries but not the additional 1 percent grocery tax that localities may levy.
- Gun Violence Prevention- The budget will provide $6.5 million per year to support gun violence prevention programs through the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS): $2.5 million to support a new Operation Ceasefire grant program, and $4 million per year for grants to community-based organizations through the Virginia Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund.
- Housing- $40 million to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, for a total of $150 million in the next two years, and add $240 million to a new Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit program over the next 10 years.
- Fresh Food Access- The budget will provide $1 million per year to the Virginia Fresh Match Nutrition Incentive program, which enhance the buying power for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and community stores.
- Higher Education- $340 million in financial and other aid to colleges and universities, including $43.3 million for both public and private historically Black institutions, and $202 million in state aid to encourage colleges and universities to moderate annual increases in tuition.
You can see a detailed breakdown of all spending items for the conference budget online here. As always, I encourage you to reach out to my office to share your priorities for our biennial budget.
Help Clean the Chesapeake Bay
Join us Saturday, June 4th for Clean the Bay Day with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Next week is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s annual Clean the Bay Day. Over the past 33 years, this annual event has encouraged thousands of Virginians to descend on the rivers, streams, and beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to remove harmful litter and debris. Clean the Bay Day has been a staple for Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay community since its inception more than three decades ago. A true Virginian tradition, it is an annual opportunity for individuals, families, military installations, businesses, clubs, and civic and church groups to give back to their local waterways.
I hope that you will join us to pick up litter and debris at Stoney Run, a park along the James River that is frequented by many constituents of the 93rd. It is recommended that you wear comfortable close-toe shoes and gloves, although our team will have some supplies. Please reply to this email if you plan to attend, or have any questions about the event.
WHAT: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Clean the Bay Day with Team Mullin
WHERE: Stoney Run Baseball Fields, 15194 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA 23608
WHEN: Saturday, June 4th at 9:00 am
Visit to Woodside High School
On Wednesday, May 25th I was invited as a quest speaker in Kristen Lester AP and Honors Government classes at Woodside High School in Newport News. They were finishing their very last unit about state and local government. It was wonderful to share my experiences, answer their questions and encouraging these young people to participate in the democratic process to the future.
Americans Can Order Additional Free At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests
This past month, President Biden announced that COVIDTests.gov is now open for a third round of ordering. U.S. households are now able to order an additional eight free at-home tests at COVIDTests.gov—bringing the total number of free tests available to each household since the start of the program to 16. As the highly transmissible subvariants of Omicron drive a rise in cases in many parts of the country, free and accessible tests will help slow the spread of the virus.
People who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages—8am to midnight ET, 7 days a week. For more information, people can visit: https://www.covid.gov/tests/
COVID-19 testing is a critical tool to help mitigate the spread of the virus, which is why maintaining domestic testing capacity is an essential component of the President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
Happy Pride Month
On June 11, 1999 President Clinton issued a proclamation designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. It marked the first time the gay community joined together to fight for its civil rights, earning national attention and gaining a foothold in the struggle for equality. This month is dedicated to appreciating the contributions and significance of the GLBT community, and applauding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, and transgender pride. Love not Hate!
In the News:
WM News : W&M dedicates memorial to the enslaved
THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE: William & Mary’s Class of 2022 graduates
Daily Press: Widening of road rides on state budget deal
Washington Post: Colonial Jamestown, assailed by climate change, is facing disaster
As always, thanks for reading! Keep connected with our office by calling (757) 525-9526, emailing DelMMullin@house.virginia.gov, or @mikemullin4va on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If my office can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us!