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With unexpectedly high state revenues, Youngkin calls for more tax relief

But some Democratic lawmakers said the money, much of which comes from taxes on investments, would be better used to bolster public worker salaries, provide state services, and fund capital improvements such as an estimated $25 billion in school replacement costs.

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By Sarah Vogelsong

With Virginia taking in roughly $1.9 billion in unanticipated revenues over the past fiscal year, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is proposing putting $400 million toward a new state taxpayer relief fund.

“The right thing to do is return unplanned revenue to taxpayers,” the Republican Youngkin told members of the House and Senate committees that oversee Virginia’s budget process on Friday. “It’s not our money. It belongs to the hardworking taxpayers of Virginia.”

But some Democratic lawmakers said the money, much of which comes from taxes on investments, would be better used to bolster public worker salaries, provide state services and fund capital improvements such as an estimated $25 billion in school replacement costs.

“We have to deal with these ongoing problems, and to automatically say that all of it goes into tax cuts is just not realistic,” said Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, who previously chaired the House Finance Committee when Democrats controlled the chamber.

Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville, and an economist at the University of Virginia, said that as corporate profits have risen, “so have the payouts to their shareholders.”

“It seems fair that when corporate profits soar, you reinvest that money in the infrastructure … that makes it possible to maintain a healthy business climate,” she said.

Roughly three-quarters of the unplanned revenues were from nonwithholding taxes, a category that includes taxes on capital gains, partnerships and S-corporations, IRA distributions, interest and dividends, and self-employment income.

Tax revenues of this kind tend to follow rises and falls in the stock market.

Data on Virginia’s nonwithholding revenues in FY2019 presented by Finance Secretary Stephen Cummings to the joint money committees Aug. 19, 2022.

Finance Secretary Stephen Cummings described the growth in nonwithholding tax revenues, which rose 71% between 2019 and 2022, as “incredible.”

Corporate taxes also saw “dramatic growth,” he noted, rising nearly 110% over the same period and 30% over the past year. However, Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said they did not significantly affect Virginia’s $1.9 billion in unanticipated revenues, since the state had actually forecast that collections in that category would be higher.

Other revenue sources like corporate taxes “are still much higher in dollar terms than they were in 2019, but were more-or-less in line with the assumptions embedded in the caboose budget,” she said, referring to the budget that governs the last few months of the fiscal year that ended on June 30, “whereas nonwithholding was way above what anyone expected.”

Data presented by Cummings also showed a spike in nonwithholding payments greater than $100,000 last year. While a decade ago, just under 1,200 payments for capital gains and non-wage income exceeded that threshold, over 4,700 such payments were made last year.

“You can see dramatic growth in those that clear that $100,000 bar,” said Cummings.

Disagreement over best use of revenues

Youngkin repeatedly emphasized his belief that the unanticipated revenues are “not the government’s money” and any surplus “belongs to the taxpayers.”

When combined with roughly $1.2 billion that the General Assembly appropriated last year but has not been spent, state revenues are currently more than $3 billion higher than expected.

But much of it has already been designated for particular uses by legislators during the last budget cycle. State law requires that roughly $900 million be deposited into the state’s rainy day fund, Youngkin noted, while other large chunks will go toward uses such as the state’s retirement fund, capital improvement overruns, and road widening.

The $400 million the governor wants for a taxpayer relief fund would be created “after accounting for all earmarked uses of this cash surplus,” he said.

Any proposal will require approval by the General Assembly.

“This $400 million is a down payment,” he told reporters after his speech. “This is the beginning of recognizing that when we in fact have big cash surpluses driven by taking in way too much money and overtaxing Virginians,” the government can “provide meaningful tax reductions to Virginians going forward.”

Republicans praised the proposal as needed relief for Virginians suffering from record inflation.

“All across Virginia, families and small businesses continue to struggle with near record inflation,” House Appropriations Vice Chair Terry Austin, R-Botetourt, said in a statement. “Governor Youngkin’s revenue announcement today makes it clear that we have not only an opportunity, but an obligation, to provide even more relief to taxpayers when we return to Richmond in 2023.”

But Watts said the tax relief proposal was “just not in touch with the real world out there.”

Pointing to staffing shortages among teachers, state mental health care providers and law enforcement officers across the commonwealth, Watts said Virginia is facing “crisis gaps” in employment. And while the General Assembly recently approved pay raises of 10% and higher for all these workers that went into effect July 1, “inflation’s just eating it up,” she said.

“I’m just frustrated that this on-the-ground awareness was not expressed,” she said. “To just say automatically, we return it to the people – well, the people need kids in classrooms with trained teachers in a classroom that isn’t doubled up because there’s a teacher vacancy.”

Youngkin acknowledged after his speech that “we continue to see staffing shortages” but said he is “hopeful” that the pay increases “will go a long way towards covering a historic pay gap.”

He also signaled that the administration will seek further tax cuts, calling Virginia’s taxes high relative to surrounding states such as North Carolina and Tennessee.

“We’ve got to be consistently lowering the tax burden in Virginia,” he said.

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Community

Road Closures for Richmond Folk Festival

Quick summary, all the roads around Brown’s Island

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Road Closures/No Parking 4 p.m., Friday, Oct 7 – 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Oct 9 Starting Friday afternoon, several roads near Brown’s Island will close through the weekend for the Richmond Folk Festival. Parking will be prohibited.

Road specifics.

  • North 6th Street between East Broad and East Grace streets
  • Tredegar Street between South 7th Street and Belle Isle lot
  • South 10th Street between Haxall Point and Federal Reserve Bank
  • Spring Street between South 2nd and Belvidere streets
  • East Byrd Street between South 2nd and South 7th streets
  • South 2nd Street between Lee Bridge off ramp and East Byrd Street
  • South 3rd Street between East Canal and East Byrd streets
  • South 4th Street between East Canal and East Byrd streets
  • South 5th Street between East Canal and Tredegar streets

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Arts & Entertainment

Craft + Design 2022 is Back and In-person this Year

Over 40 artists are new to Craft + Design this year and over half of the show’s artists are traveling from out of state.

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Richmond, VA (September 28, 2022) Craft + Design is back in person and this year, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond welcomes over 150 artists to Craft + Design 2022. The 58-year-old contemporary craft show takes place at Main Street Station’s train shed on the weekend of Oct. 14-16, 2022. All proceeds from Craft + Design go towards VisArts’ community and educational programs.

Over 40 artists are new to Craft + Design this year and over half of the show’s artists are traveling from out of state. A complete list of participating artists is available on the event website.

“It’s an honor to know that the very best artists travel from all over the country to exhibit their work at Craft + Design,” said Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. “We’re thrilled to be back in person at Main Street Station celebrating our 58th year of Craft + Design with so many talented makers from Richmond and beyond.”

VisArts selected Brooklyn-based fiber artist Sarah Djarnie-Brown as the featured artist this year. Djarnie-Brown’s vibrant and colorful heirloom dolls are handcrafted out of salvaged materials including wood, fabric, wool and various other recycled mixed materials.
Six 2019 Craft + Design award winners return to the show this year, including:
  • Nicario Jimenz (Elisabeth Scott Bocock Best in Show Award, Presented by McGuireWoods LLP
  • Stephen and Tamberlaine Zeh (Claris Financial Innovative Use of Traditional Craft Materials)
  • Daniel Rickey (Friends of the Wood Studio at VisArts Wood and Recycled Materials Award)
  • Melissa Schmidt (Priscilla Burbank and Mike Schewel Glass Award)
  • E. Douglas Wunder (Genworth Best Booth Design Award)
  • Robert Patterson (Troutman Sanders Contemporary Design Award)
Local Richmond notable includes Paul Hansbarger, owner of Lineage in Carytown who will host and a Local Maker booth at this year’s show.

VisArts also invited 20 Richmond artists who are instructors at the center. Accepted teachers include: Angie Bacskocky, Claire Berry, David Camden, Merenda Cecelia, Lauri Jenkins, Paul Klassett, Claire McCarty, Shawn Norian, Christine Orr, Stephen Palmer, Al Pellenberg, Julia Pfaff, Kourtenay Plummer, Debbie Quick, Tracy Shell, Danielle Stevens, Nastassja Swift, Ashley Tamber, Sarah Tector, and Kristi Totoritis. VisArts teachers Alicia Dietz and Alyssa Salomon were accepted into Craft + Design 2022 through our juried application process.

This year’s show was juried by VisArts Master Teaching Artist Jay Sharpe, Craft + Design Committee Chair Anna Powers, and local craft collectors and arts patrons Karen Kelly, Virginia Lewis and Maggie Smith.

Craft + Design is nationally recognized for its competitive admission rate. Additionally, artist feedback describes Craft + Design as an extremely hospitable show. The hosted housing program and artists’ dinner are just two of the perks that set Craft + Design apart from other shows of its caliber.

There will be several local maker booths at the show this year, featuring the work of Richmond-area craftspeople. Local brick-and-mortar retailers Dear Neighbor, Lineage, Na Nin and knifemaker Join or Die Knives will curate these special group booths.

Richmond Magazine has partnered with Richmond-based modern furniture retailer, LaDiff to bring an interior design showcase to Craft + Design 2022. The beautifully designed space will feature works of art from participating artists Ashley Chiang, Jorgelina Lopez & Marco Duenas, Daniel Rickey and Robert Patterson.

The McKinnon and Harris Patrons’ Preview Party, which takes place on Fri., Oct. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m., includes beer, wine, hors d’oeuvres and the chance to shop early. Tickets cost $60 for VisArts members and $65 for the general public.

The Rise + Shine Brunch, which pairs another early shopping opportunity with a light breakfast, bloody marys and mimosas, will run from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 15. Tickets are $35 for VisArts members and $40 for the general public. At this year’s brunch, Richmond magazine presents featured speaker, Susan Hable, the artist and designer behind Hable Construction Design Studio.

Regular shopping hours run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Sat., Oct. 15 and Sun., Oct. 16. General admission tickets cost $10.

The education wing presented by Richmond Family Magazine, located on the lower level of Main Street Station, is a free-to-the-public, art-making space where both adults and children can explore the media Craft + Design artists use to make their work.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is once again the exclusive beer sponsor of Craft + Design this year, serving beer throughout the weekend. The beer garden will be in the middle of Main Street Station’s event space beside the Claris Financial Demonstration Stage, which will showcase live demonstrations by VisArts teaching artists. During Saturday and Sunday’s regular shopping hours, Espresso-a-Go-Go, Goatocado, and Alamo BBQ will be serving food and refreshments on the lower level.

People who would like to attend multiple events over the course of the Craft + Design weekend should consider purchasing a weekend pass. Weekend passes are $85 for members and $90 for the general public and include a ticket to Patrons’ Preview (with complimentary valet parking), a ticket to Rise + Shine, and unlimited admission during regular shopping hours.

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Community

2nd Street Festival Cancelled Grand Master Flash Performing at Hippodrome

Although the festival is cancelled there is a least one show that will go on. Curse you Hurrican Ian, curse you.

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Sad news from Venture Richmond

Venture Richmond Events has made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the 2nd Street Festival, scheduled for this weekend, Oct. 1-2.

Like many, the Venture Richmond Events team has watched Ian for days, hoping that it would not be the massive and potentially deadly weather event that it clearly is. While we are extremely lucky to be a few states away from the serious issues Florida is facing, we also know that this weekend promises uncertain amounts of rainfall and potential wind gusts for our area. After consulting meteorologists, vendors, contractors, security, and other event planners, and after considering the Governor’s State of Emergency, we concluded to the best of our ability, that the event, if held, would not be safe. We must put the safety of our patrons, artists, vendors, contractors, and staff foremost.

There is good news though – a portion of the party will go on indoors! Our festival headliner, Grandmaster Flash will perform indoors at The Hippodrome theater on 2nd Street in Jackson Ward on Saturday evening. This performance will be FREE and open to the public, but capacity is limited and based upon availability.

2nd Street Festival at The Hipp

A special performance by Grandmaster Flash with an opening band

Saturday, October 1, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd Street

Doors 4:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public with limited capacity and based upon availability.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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