Northam pushes for teacher raises, targeted tax breaks

Gov. Ralph Northam is asking state lawmakers to approve a budget plan to gives raises to teachers, tax breaks for families making up to about $50,000, and socks away hundreds of millions of dollars into savings accounts.

The Democratic governor presented his state spending plan Tuesday to members of the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Northam says the state has a unique opportunity to make long-needed investments in affordable housing, clean-water projects and other areas thanks to a projected windfall in state taxes caused by last year’s federal tax overhaul.

The governor wants to expand tax credits for low-income workers. Republicans have advocated returning more of the projected windfall to taxpayers.

Lawmakers will take up the budget proposal when the legislative session starts in January.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.