While debating the Senate’s budget plan on the floor this morning, Senate President Mike Miller indicated that he wants to work with Governor Hogan on some of his tax relief proposals. This suggests that at least one of the Governor’s bills, still in their Senate committee, could pass in the days ahead.
As reported by the Associated Press and published in the Washington Times,
Miller said he wanted to work for a personal property tax exemption backed by Hogan. He also said lawmakers will consider reducing an automatic increase the state’s gas tax to adjust for inflation – a tax Hogan has targeted. Miller, who adamantly opposed touching the gas tax increase seven weeks ago, said he would now be open to downsizing the automatic increase to a point where it would only be increased by a small amount each year.
It seems this would be as part of a compromise on the Governor’s proposed FY 2016 budget. Both the House and Senate budget plans have restructured or identified funds within the budget and redirected them to specific programs or initiatives. However, these funds can’t be spent on these items unless allocated by the Governor through a supplemental budget.
The state budget, which already has passed the House of Delegates, restores scaled back funding in Hogan’s initial proposal in January, as well as a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
However, Hogan will still need to approve those changes for them to take effect.
“He’s going to do that, but there’s an understanding also from the governor that we’re going to look at his agenda and move some of his agenda forward,” Miller said during the session as senators considered the budget legislation.
For more information on the proposed FY 2016 budget and the House and Senate budget plans, see our previous posts on Conduit Street.