RICHMOND, Va. — In the wake of yesterday’s news that Governor Glenn Youngkin will be traveling to Dallas to meet donors next month, Freedom Virginia today suggested the governor instead focus his energy on any of the following three things to advance the economic freedom of hardworking Virginians:
1) Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs
Governor Youngkin’s administration recently testified against legislation that would have created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to lower the prices of high-cost medicines, an initiative that is supported by 82 percent of Virginians. The bill passed the Senate with Republican votes and likely would have passed the House had Youngkin followed the lead of the seven other states with both Republican and Democratic governors. Youngkin offered no alternative plan in the face of what is undeniably a crisis, with 1 in 4 Virginians Virginians reporting they have skipped taking their medicines due to cost.
Rising drug prices are even more acutely felt in Virginia than in other states. In 2020, Virginians spent 36% more per person on prescription drugs than the national average: $1,500 in Virginia compared to $1,100 nationally. From 2015 to 2020, Virginians’ average spending on prescription drugs rose from $1,400 to $1,500 – a 6.6% increase, more than twice the national increase.
2) Re-Work His Tax Plan So That Corporations Pay Their Fair Share
Youngkin’s budget proposal made one thing clear: he cares more about currying favor with his corporate donors and his wealthy base than about ensuring hardworking Virginians have the resources they need to get ahead. Under Youngkin’s tax plan, big corporations get over $350M in tax breaks, while the majority of Virginia households will get less than $50. His corporate giveaways will mean either tax hikes for families or deep cuts to services, like his attempt to defund schools.
3) Address Our Housing Crisis
Everyone from realtors to home builders to local governments has said that to actually reduce the cost of rents or mortgages, the state needs to invest. Yet Youngkin’s budget proposal has made zero meaningful investment in making housing affordable. In regions around Virginia, the average family cannot afford to purchase a home, and rent is taking up more and more of household budgets, costing families hundreds of dollars more in rent each month. The crisis is even more severe for communities of color because so much of our state has been wrecked by decades of discriminatory policies that have kept people of color from building housing wealth.
“Glenn Youngkin is making clear what we already knew: he cares much more about his political prospects and courting the national GOP than making Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Rhena Hicks, executive director of Freedom Virginia. “Virginians deserve a governor who puts them first. Instead of flying thousands of miles to wine and dine donors who live in mega-mansions in other states, Glenn Youngkin should be focused on how to lower housing and medicine costs right here in Virginia.”