Governor Northam Outlines Liberal Agenda in State of the Commonwealth Address

Democratic Governor Ralph Northam outlined his policy agenda for 2019 in the annual State of the Commonwealth address, delivered to lawmakers Wednesday in Richmond on the first day of the 2019 legislative session. Emphasizing liberal priorities, Northam called for increased spending paid for with higher taxes, sweeping gun control, expanded abortion rights, and repealing Virginia’s voter ID law, among other liberal priorities. Already, the 2019 legislative session is shaping up to be the most liberal ever, driven by the governor’s proposals, as well as a slew of left-wing bills filed by freshman Democratic lawmakers, ranging from top-level priorities such as higher spending and gun control , to other measures including repealing Virginia’s Right to Work law , allowing convicted drug dealers to receive food stamps, and taxing paper and plastic bags . Tax Increases and Spending Of all issues pending before the legislature this year, none have drawn more attention than Governor Northam’s proposal to increase state spending by $2.2 billion, $1.6 billion of which would occur after his term expires. Northam proposed paying for the spending, in part, through $1.2 billion in higher taxes levied on 600,000 middle class Virginians. In his address, Northam touted the spending plan as a signature issue. “Just a few short weeks ago, I shared my proposed budget amendments with the Joint Money Committees,” said Northam. “These amendments reflect the unique opportunity we have this session: to make forward-looking investments in our success, to further strengthen our reserves, and meet our existing obligations.” […]

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