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May 21, 2024

Youngkin announces finance secretary, vows lower taxes

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin announced his new finance secretary and vowed his team will promote lower taxes and greater fiscal responsibility in Richmond.

The governor-elect’s incoming finance secretary will be Stephen Emery Cummings, the former president and CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

“Lowering taxes and restoring fiscal responsibility in Richmond is a primary focus of our Day One Game Plan, and Steve’s experience and expertise will help make sure we deliver real results for Virginians,” Youngkin said in a statement.

“Steve shares my vision of respecting Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring the Commonwealth’s budget is managed effectively and efficiently,” Youngkin said. “And he has the skillset and leadership qualities that our team needs to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Youngkin and his team will take control of the government’s executive branch in mid-January after Gov. Ralph Northam finishes his term. Northam proposed a series of tax relief proposals that were included in his two-year budget plan, but Youngkin and legislative Republican leadership plan to revise the plan.

Northam proposed to end the state’s 1.5% tax on groceries, which is part of Youngkin’s plan. He also included a proposal to make 15% of the federal earned income tax credit refundable for low-income and middle-income families, which would allow them to get a refund if they are below a certain income level. Another proposal would return some of the state’s surplus money to the taxpayers through one-time rebates: $250 million for individuals and $500 for married couples.

In addition to gaining control of the executive branch, Republicans gained control of the House of Delegates. House Republican leadership have already said they plan to revise Northam’s budget proposal.

Although Northam’s plan hit on some of Youngkin’s priorities, the governor’s plan does not provide the same level of relief as the governor-elect’s priorities. Youngkin intends to provide broader tax cuts by increasing the standard deduction.

Democrats will remain in control of the Virginia Senate. The Senate did not have any elections in 2021.

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