Let it burn!

Published 12:08 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Those were the words of Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton). She is Chairman of the Senate Democrat Caucus. Why would she say such a thing? What prompted this speech on the floor of the Senate? We do not know what she meant, but her speech was the response to the Republican proposal to return almost $1 billion to the taxpayers of Virginia.

In the Governor’s budget, he proposed spending all of the money generated by the federal level Trump tax changes. Those changes included a big increase in exemptions while eliminating others. This gave state government a chance to absorb a big chunk of the taxpayer’s federal tax cut.

Our proposal would return those dollars to those hard-working families that paid them! The Democrats, voting as a block, voted to stop our effort to act immediately. To take any action immediately requires a super majority vote. That is what I think Senator Locke meant by her “let it burn” speech. However, that vote simply means that taxpayers will be delayed in their filing or that our proposed tax return will be delayed.

How will our tax return plan work?

Later this year, individuals would receive a $110 tax rebate, and couples would get a tax rebate for $220. Beginning next year, the standard deduction for personal income taxes will increase by 50 percent. An increase in the standard deduction lowers your taxable income and, as a result, you pay less in taxes. If enacted, our plan would constitute the second largest tax cut in Virginia history. The plan returns all $976 million of the projected revenue windfall created by the federal tax reform and simplification to taxpayers in direct tax relief.

The increase in the standard deduction is long overdue. While the standard deduction allowed when you pay your federal income taxes has regularly increased, Virginia’s has not. As a result, Virginians filing their personal income taxes as individuals today are allowed the same $3,000 standard deduction that was allowed 30 years ago. Under our plan, that deduction would jump to $4,500. Couples would see their current $6,000 standard deduction jump to $9,000.

By giving this money back to taxpayers, Senate Republicans are insisting that state government live within its means. Restraining the growth of government spending is always a challenge. It is essential to maintain our AAA bond rating and to ensure the sustainability of the essential government services you expect. With this, we still have a budget that is balanced, and we’ll still have your tax dollars prioritized providing core government services.

Like the federal tax plan, which also substantially increases the standard deduction, the goal is to not only lower your income taxes but to make them simpler and more sensible. As a result, the bulk of the tax relief goes to working families. Ours is a tax relief plan for the many, not the few.


Sadly, the issue of late term abortion came up in the House of Delegates last week. Delegate Tran (D-Fairfax) offered legislation that, according to her own description, would make it legal in Virginia (just as has been signed in New York State) to kill a baby up to the final point of delivery! It is sad that anyone would consider such a barbaric action.

Some may not believe, as I do, that life begins at conception. However, even the most ardent who believe in abortion find it unacceptable in the last months. Sadly, the Governor agreed with Delegate Tran. Everyone must remember that elections have results.

Frank Ruff represents Charlotte in the state Senate. His email address is Sen. Ruff@verizon.net.