RICHMOND, Va. — Tremors from Tuesday’s seismic shift in Virginia politics reached the commonwealth’s House of Delegates by Wednesday morning, as Republicans eyed at least six seats to regain control of the lower chamber.
They did even better, flipping seven seats, according to preliminary results from the Virginia Board of Elections. The vote totals are expected to result in a 52-48 Republican majority in the House of Delegates, once tallies are certified on November 15.
The Virginia Senate still retains a 21-19 Democratic majority, with the upper chamber’s next election in November 2023.
But while the state Senate will likely check the House if the new, emboldened, Republican lawmakers pass bills on education, abortion, or gun rights, the House is still in the driver’s seat when it comes to taxes in the commonwealth.
All revenue bills begin in the House – and as Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin declared victory early Wednesday, he highlighted two tax-focused campaign promises for the beginning of his administration.
“We're gonna eliminate the grocery tax!” Youngkin told the crowd during his victory speech in Chantilly. “And suspend the most recent hike in the gas tax.”
In an interview, Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, said there would likely be bipartisan interest in cutting the gas tax as soon as possible.
“Particularly with higher gas prices and higher inflation risks in the country, I think this is one of the things where there could be some significant Democratic buy-in,” Farnsworth said.
“The grocery tax will be pretty quick out of the box on the Republican side as well. That’s another area where people who are hurting will benefit, because poor people are actually paying more as a percentage of their income when it comes to foodstuffs.”
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