Tag Archives: Derrick A. Max

Jefferson Institute’s Hit List Bills Mostly Gone

By Derrick Max

Monday was not just the near total solar eclipse in Virginia, but also the deadline for Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) to act on the budget and the remaining bills on his desk. As our Steve Haner wrote, in “Governor’s Budget Compromise Eclipses Fears of Stalemate,” we are generally positive about the approximately 230 budget amendments Governor Youngkin made.

The Governor sacrificed two-thirds of his spending priorities while giving Democrats almost all of theirs. He did this while removing any tax increases from the budget and forgoing all of his recommended tax reforms (reductions). This was more than a good faith offer and should be embraced by any member of the General Assembly, Democrat or Republican, serious about getting a budget compromise passed before the end of the fiscal year.

Just before midnight on Monday, Governor Youngkin acted on the last of the 1,046 bills he had been sent this legislative session. The final tally: he signed 777, proposed amendments for 116, and vetoed 153. He will have a second chance to veto bills where his suggested amendments are rejected.

While I am sure much will be made of the record number of vetoes, Democrats in the General Assembly opted to send a wish list of bills to the Governor that they knew would never get his signature. Nor would some have even passed the muster with previous Democratically controlled General Assemblies or liberal Governors around the country. This is due, in part, to the retirement or defeat of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucuses in the General Assembly. Continue reading

Proposed Tax for Leave Pay Guaranteed to Grow

From tiny acorns, massive tax-fed government benefit programs grow. Case in point, the pending Virginia paid leave bureaucracy.

By Derrick Max

Sitting on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk is a paid family and medical leave bill that would provide eight weeks of paid leave per year for most employees in the Commonwealth. The program would pay employees 80 percent of their weekly salary up to an amount equal to 80 percent of the regional average salary for their qualified leave. Interestingly, teachers, state employees, and constitutional officers are not covered under this program — presumably, these employees already have paid leave benefits and the General Assembly did not want to tax their allies. Continue reading

Max: Youngkin Right To Veto Minimum Wage

By Derrick Max

There is a near-universal consensus among economists that increases in the minimum wage harm low-skilled workers the most. Originally designed to mimic racially discriminatory laws elsewhere, the minimum wage continues to be a means of picking certain classes and geographic locations over others. For example, the minimum wage benefits the high-cost-of-living areas in the Northeast over the lower-cost-of-living areas in the South. Continue reading

Jefferson Institute Lists Bills Youngkin Should Veto

By Derrick Max

We have reached sine die of the 2024 General Assembly legislative session. During this session, over a thousand individual bills and a nearly 500-page biennial budget were sent to the Governor. All of this must be reviewed and acted upon by Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) before the April 17 reconvened session.

There may be hundreds of bills on the Governor’s desk worthy of his veto. Additionally, Democrats inserted partisan policy decisions within the budget in such a way that the Governor may need to veto it in its entirety. As Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) noted in his end-of-session constituent letter: “The budget includes items the Governor does not support, and some of those may be difficult for the Governor to veto because they are woven into the fabric of the budget itself. Speculation is rampant that he may opt to veto the budget, which would set us up for another prolonged budget debate.”

Governor Youngkin should not hesitate to use his veto pen liberally, including on the budget. As former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said, “The veto is not a decision I take lightly, but it is a necessary tool to prevent harmful legislation from becoming law. I will continue to stand up for the values and priorities of the people of Virginia by exercising this authority judiciously.” Governor McAuliffe had the highest number of vetoes in recent years when he faced Republican majorities in both chambers, vetoing 49 bills in 2017 alone and 120 during his entire term. Continue reading

Tomorrow’s Ballot Question: Will Virginia Become Illinois?

by Derrick Max

It was reported last week that billionaire Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker had made substantial campaign contributions totaling $250,000 to four liberal Democrats running for Virginia State Senate and the Democratic Party of Virginia. These donations, made through Governor Pritzker’s “Think Big America” organization, are the clearest sign yet that the left wants to turn the Commonwealth of Virginia into an Illinois of the East.

Truthfully, the governing philosophies in Illinois and Virginia could not be more different. State and local government spending per capita in Illinois is higher than in Virginia. Illinois has a higher overall tax burden than Virginia, and Illinois has a substantially higher unionization rate than Virginia. In fact, about one in seven workers in Illinois is unionized, while only one in 22 workers in Virginia is unionized. Illinois also has a higher minimum wage than Virginia. So, what does Illinois get with its higher taxes, higher spending, higher minimum wage, and higher unionization? A worse state. Continue reading

Virginia’s “Runaway” Budget Negotiators

by Derrick A. Max

(This column was first published by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy)

Fear of commitment is a common theme in Hollywood — where romantic comedies are replete with characters that sidestep long-term commitment primarily out of fear that someone better may come along. Think of Runaway Bride, where Maggie, played by Julia Roberts, keeps running away from her betrothed at the altar out of such fear.

The budget amendments passed last Wednesday with bipartisan support and praise from Governor Youngkin are replete with commitment issues. The approved tax cuts and new spending were written to have very little impact beyond the current budget cycle. Like Maggie, both Governor Youngkin and the Senate Democrats are clearly standing at the budget altar hoping for better options after the November elections. Continue reading