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By Anna Bryson – Henrico Citizen

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin visited the India K’Raja restaurant in Henrico’s Near West End on Thursday to talk business with members of the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.

After trying his hand at making bread with restaurant owner Tony Sappal, Youngkin led a discussion with small business owners about labor participation and tax cuts. 

Youngkin emphasized bipartisanship during the roundtable, where he was joined by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Del. Rodney Willett (D-Henrico). 

“This is not about Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “It’s the Virginia dream; it’s for all Virginians.”

Earlier in the day, Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled his final proposed budget, which includes pay raises for teachers and law enforcement as well as tax cuts that he said are intended to help working class families.

Youngkin praised parts of the proposed plan, but said the tax cuts need to be bigger.

“He doesn’t go far enough. He doesn’t cut taxes nearly far enough in order for Virginia to compete,” Youngkin told reporters on Thursday. “So we’ve got real work to do, but I’m encouraged by the fact that many of the issues that people might have thought were partisan are now bipartisan — getting rid of the grocery tax and investing in teachers and law enforcement.”

Northam’s proposal outlines about $2.1 billion in tax cuts, including eliminating 1.5% state grocery tax  — an issue that Youngkin campaigned on.

Small business owners in Henrico shared their success stories, as well as their hopes for less “overreaching” laws and regulations.

As many business owners struggle to find employees, Youngkin said that the minimum wage is not the issue.

“There are very, very few businesses that in fact, are paying minimum wage today. Minimum wage today is a misnomer, because people believe it’s actually the maximum wage,” Youngkin said. “I have not met a single business leader who is looking to hire people that says’ I’m offering minimum wage and no one is taking.’ What I’m finding over and over again, is we are already offering $15-$20 an hour, plus signing bonuses in order to get people to come work.”

The issue, he said, is getting people back to work and training them to take the available jobs.

*This article was originally published by Henrico Citizen.*

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