2023 Session Update - Week 1
To the Constituents of the 19th House District:
This past Wednesday, January 11th marked the beginning of the 2023 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. During this 45-day “short session”, Republicans will continue to focus on making Virginia a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to joining my Republican colleagues in the House of Delegates as we build on the momentum of last year’s $4 billion in tax cuts and position our economy for success during this period of economic uncertainty.
The makeup of the House remains a 52-48 Republican majority. A special election for a state senate seat in Virginia Beach increased the Democrat majority in the Senate by one and it is now 22-18. The divided General Assembly means that Republican priorities will be contested as legislation passes over from the House to the Senate.
Committee assignments remain largely unchanged. I remain Vice Chairman of Appropriations, Chairman of Transportation, and a member of the Rules Committee. Within Appropriations I serve on the subcommittees of Government and Capital Outlay, Higher Education, and am Chairman of Transportation and Public Safety. Due to the slim margin in the House, I serve as ex-officio for all four subcommittees in Transportation. My priorities remain advancing our region’s interests in transportation and economic development.
Last year, House Republicans successfully worked with Governor Youngkin to deliver much-needed tax relief to Virginians. This year, we are renewing our commitment to provide further relief by cutting income taxes to ensure more of your hard-earned money stays in your pocket. Last year, we cut taxes on military retiree pay for those over 55. This year, we are expanding on this progress and will fight to make all military retiree pay exempt from state taxes. We remain committed to taking care of those who sacrificed to protect our freedoms.
Rampant inflation continues to increase the cost of living. While the General Assembly cannot control the rate of inflation, House Republicans have developed initiatives to alleviate its effects by lowering costs. This includes proposed legislation that seeks to lower monthly electric bills. We are also committed to disconnecting from the costly emissions standards of California. The Virginia General Assembly, not other state legislatures, should be writing our laws. As many Virginians struggle to pay for the high costs of prescription drugs, we are pushing legislation that passes the savings from prescription rebates directly to consumers at the pharmacy counter. This will lower healthcare costs without adding any bureaucratic red tape or taxpayer expense.
In addition to cutting taxes and reducing the cost of living, Republicans are focused on creating an environment that fosters job creation. Attracting and supporting businesses coming to Virginia is a critical component of this effort. Our goal is to create jobs, spur competition and innovation, and grow Virginia’s economy. That is why Republicans support Governor Youngkin’s initiative to invest in business ready sites, to ensure we have the infrastructure to welcome new businesses to Virginia.
These initiatives are just the start. The Republican legislative agenda also includes improving our schools, making our communities safer, and developing a diversified, all-in approach to energy. I look forward to updating you as we advance our priorities over the following weeks.
While in Richmond, it is always a pleasure seeing familiar faces from back home. This week, we welcomed to the Capitol the Virginia Federation of Republican Women, members of the Agribusiness Council, and bankers from across Virginia. Though the compressed nature of a short session means time is limited, these visits are important and informative, and I thank you for taking the time to make your voices heard in person.¬
It is an honor to serve you in the Virginia House of Delegates. If I can be of assistance to you, or you would like to share your position on any of my legislative priorities, please do not hesitate to contact me at DelTAustin@House.Virginia.gov or 804-698-1019.
Delegate Terry L. Austin
19th House District