Governor Youngkin outlined his priorities for the 2023 General Assembly session in his State of the Commonwealth address to the General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, reiterating his pledge to accelerate efforts in economic competitiveness, education, public safety, and behavioral health, among other priorities. The Governor welcomed three new members of the legislature who were elected on Tuesday in special elections – Delegate Ellen Campbell, Delegate Holly Seibold, and Senator Aaron Rouse – and cited a host of accomplishments from the past year, including investments in K-12, successes in finding placements for youth in foster care, clearing backlogs at the Virginia Employment Commission, and a commitment to addressing needs in the City of Petersburg.
The Governor cautioned that Virginia cannot rest on its accomplishments, as its competitor states are benefiting from population growth and have out-performed Virginia in securing economic development projects. In addition to workforce development and the buildout of business-ready sites, the Governor encouraged legislators to embrace additional tax reform, arguing, “we are going to have to systematically move to lower taxes to make Virginia more attractive to young people, families, veterans, and retirees, and more competitive for business.”
The Governor also highlighted his proposals to address the nursing shortage, provide retention and performance bonuses to teachers, and recruit and retain law enforcement officers. He underscored the importance of investments in behavioral health and outlined key elements of his proposed “Right Help, Right Now” plan, which includes funding for mobile crisis units, crisis receiving centers, psychiatric emergency centers, and behavioral health workforce development, as well as efforts to prevent fentanyl overdoses. He encouraged a continued commitment to meeting Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay goals, citing proposed investments in the Resilient Virginia Revolving Loan Fund and wastewater nutrient removal projects.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle