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by Brandon Jarvis

Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin announced new policy proposals on Monday that he said will be funded with Virginia’s surplus and revenue over the next year. Democrats responded to the announcement in their own press conference Tuesday.

With plans to both spend more and cut taxes, Youngkin’s campaign stressed that local funding for things like public safety and education would not decrease. The initial cuts would total $1.8 billion with a recurring total of $1.4 billion a year. Virginia saw a $2.6 billion surplus this previous fiscal year — approximately half of that is required by law to go into Virginia’s rainy-day fund.

Youngkin’s plan includes suspending the gas tax hike for one year, providing tax rebates of $300 for individuals and $600 for couples, eliminating taxes for veterans on the first $40,000 of their retirement pay, and cutting income taxes by doubling the standard deductions — $259 for individuals and $518 for couples.

Youngkin is also proposing that Virginia require citizens to vote on and approve any property tax increase in their locality. “We will require a vote before homeowners taxes are ever increased again,” Youngkin said to a cheering crowd in Fairfax. 

“We have a lot we need to get done here in Virginia, and we need to start strong. It is time for bold leadership, and the Day One Game Plan takes on the challenges facing Virginians and puts us on a path toward having the best jobs, the best schools, and the safest communities in America,” Youngkin Monday. “Terry McAuliffe and his liberal Richmond allies are failing Virginia, and it’s going to take a new kind of leader—not a failed politician looking for a second chance—to create a Commonwealth where businesses can prosper, students can thrive, and communities are safe.”

Democratic leaders from the General Assembly held a press conference Tuesday to respond to the plan from Youngkin. 

“Youngkin’s day 1 plan that he threw out yesterday, from my perspective, it’s a carnival of bad ideas from the last two decades led by this guy who was one of Donald Trump’s lead ringmasters,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Scott Surovell. “Glenn Youngkin has said that Donald Trump represents so much of why he is running and nowhere, nowhere is that more clear than in this Trump-inspired plan to eliminate the Virginia income tax.”

State Del. Jay Jones (D) didn’t hold back either on Tuesday when talking to reporters. “It’s truly shocking to really think about and contemplate how much damage Glenn Youngkin’s failed tax plan could do in just one community. […] When Glenn talks about keeping our communities safe, it’s very, very clear to me and so many others that he has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about.”

Youngkin’s Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe released a statement through a spokesperson Monday. “All of Glenn Youngkin’s Trumpian tax plans have one thing in common: they would lead to drastic cuts to public education and drive Virginia’s economy into a ditch,” said Christina Freundlich, a spokeswoman for McAuliffe. “It’s no surprise Glenn has no clue how to invest in Virginia’s economy, given he made hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of working families — shipping American jobs overseas and raising rents on seniors. Terry McAuliffe wasted no time in sharing with Virginians his nearly 20 comprehensive plans to invest in public education, make health care more affordable, and create hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs. Unlike Glenn, Virginians can trust Terry to deliver, just as he did as governor before.”

The latest polling released Tuesday from Monmouth University shows McAuliffe with a five-point lead. Early voting for Virginia’s 2021 elections begins Sept. 17.

Listen below to our full audio episode covering the announcement from Youngkin and the press conference from the Democrats.

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