VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia House Democratic Leader Don Scott, Senator Lamont Bagby, Senator Aaron Rouse, and VEA Vice President Carol Bauer today joined Freedom Virginia in launching their 5-stop “Show Me Your Values” mobile billboard tour to call for the passage of the Virginia Senate budget, which prioritizes schools and communities over tax handouts to to big corporations and the wealthiest Virginians.
The tour continues Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. in Loudoun County. Additional tour stops will include Henrico County, Newport News and Harrisonburg.
This week, Gov. Youngkin called for a special session on the budget, which could happen in June or July. Legislators will make a simple choice: adopt the Senate budget and give $1 billion to our public schools or adopt Governor Youngkin and House Republicans’ budget, which contains $1 billion in tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the richest Virginians.
Virginia Beach schools would get an additional $29.5 million in state funding, including 424 new staff positions to help our kids succeed in school. That’s $465 in additional funding per student. Norfolk’s schools would get an additional $20.8 million in state funding, including 343 new staff positions. That’s $824 in additional funding per student.
“Governor Youngkin would rather spend over $600 million on corporate tax cuts right now, primarily geared towards the ultra wealthy than on the next generations of Virginians. It would cost less than half of that money to fund student support staff positions costing Virginia’s children yet another opportunity to access a world-class education,” said Democratic House Leader Don Scott. “So, Virginians, we are at a crossroads: do we let the MAGA agenda dictate our path, leading us towards tax handouts to big corporations, or do we invest in schools here in Virginia Beach, Norfolk Suffolk, Portsmouth. I’m proud to stand with our schools, I’m a proud product of public schools. I’m proud to stand with our parents. I’m proud to stand with our teachers as we begin this fight to take our system back.”
“This budget that the governor put forth prioritizes corporations over family. A budget that invests in corporations’ profits over families’ futures. What Senate Democrats have done, along with our House counterparts, is put forth a budget that invests in the future of families instead of doubling down on the tax scheme that does little for our families,” said Senator Aaron Rouse. “In the Senate, we will be supporting the historic $1 billion dollar investment in our public schools and our educators. We’re making sure our educators have the pay and the salaries that they need and that are long overdue.”
“We need to vote on a budget that will reflect our values. The money that is in the Senate budget for education is critical. And I don’t think we’ll ever get this moment back,” said Senator Lamont Bagby. “There will be other opportunities for millionaires and billionaires to make more money. We need to go above and beyond for our teachers, our students, and yes, our parents.”
“At VEA, we are calling on policymakers to make the right choice: fund our schools to create a brighter future for students and families,” said Virginia Education Association Vice President Carol Bauer. “For a state that has the 10th highest median household income in the country, it is an absolute embarrassment that we receive an “F grade” from the Education Law Center when it comes to funding efforts for our schools. Our children, our families, and our educators deserve better.”
“If our schools don’t have the tools, resources, and support they need, how can they possibly ensure that our children are successful and prepared for the future?,” said Norfolk parent Sasha Simmons. “We need a budget that caters to all of our children and their education, not just the wealthy and corporations. I want a state budget that prioritizes our schools and the needs of our children. The children are our future.”