Youngkin signs state budget, discusses lab schools and health commissioner

Governor Glenn Yongkin put his signature to the state budget on Tuesday after months of debate, negotiation and legislation. Yongkin promoted tax cuts and education funding in a campaign-style event.

Coming to the excited crowd to attend the Soul in Heaven, Yongkin stood in front of the banners that read, “Do it together.”

We want to be a commonwealth of opportunity. “This is happening,” he said. “By getting this done together, we have made historic tax cuts. Together, we have made record investments in education and public safety.”

Yongkin said he took $4 billion in tax cuts, while seeking $5 billion.

He said the politician for the first time got much of what he wanted from lawmakers in the form of a budget, but not everything.

“So we’ll go back in January and get the rest,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to do. But it’s a big step in the right direction.”

Yongkin paid particular attention to charting his future plans for one of his main policy goals, the expansion of school choice and charter schools, despite legislative findings that jeopardized the long-term viability of his education agenda.

Democrats in the legislature have resisted the charter school plans, arguing that they would take funding from public schools. Legislation to expand and fund institutions that could start “laboratory schools,” which are a type of charter school run by a university, failed to pass the General Assembly.

Yongkin then asked lawmakers to pass it through the budget.

While two of his amendments to lab schools easily passed the Republican-led home, Republican Governor Winsome Earl Sears had to break a tie in the Senate in order to expand lab schools beyond universities through a teacher education program.

Democrats succeeded in blocking an amendment that would allow funding for student follow-up from school departments.

“The $100 million that’s in the plan, I think it’s not enough and so we’ll come back and order more next year,” he told reporters. “But right now, that’s great start-up capital to allow us to get moving.”

Yongkin did not say if an earlier call for proposals for the design of a private school had been submitted, but he said this was the next phase of his plan.

“I expect this next part will be during the summer and as we approach the school year it will be very busy.”

Yongkin also said he had not made a decision to replace state health commissioner Colin Green. Greene has been heavily criticized for comments that appeared to deny the role of racism in health outcomes, particularly with regard to maternal health.

Yongkin focused his criticism on Greene’s communications rather than the substance of the comments in the Washington Post story Posted last weeksaying that addressing the maternal mortality gap was an early priority for the Department.

I know he believes in this message. I know he knows this message and has been ineffective in getting it across,” he told reporters after his budget speech. We believe these findings are totally unacceptable. We are going to work to shut it down. This is all about access. This is to make sure that black mothers get proper medical care. the antenatal care they deserve to receive.”

Youngkin said he spoke to Green about the comments.

This report was submitted by Virginia Public RadioSupported by Virginia Educational Association.

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