The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Virginia’s tax windfall should be shared

The Virginia Capitol. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
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The Feb. 24 Metro article “Virginia heads for a budget showdown” highlighted a debate within Virginia’s General Assembly. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 limited itemized tax deductions and approximately doubled the standard deduction. Studies have shown that about 90 percent of filers now take the standard deduction. Virginia’s income tax is tied to the federal process. If a filer takes the federal standard deduction, then a filer cannot itemize deductions in calculating the state tax.

Virginia did not increase its standard deduction, so many filers are no longer qualified to itemize, accruing a huge windfall to the state. The state should bring its individual income tax into conformity with the federal tax by doubling the standard deduction. Some lawmakers, as described in the article, have been arguing over how best to spend these excess funds. The truth is that a portion of this excess should be rebated to the taxpayers and, as argued above, the system changed to prevent this largesse from occurring again.

Mark Kane, Sterling