Home Youngkin sides with Confederacy on property tax break, specialty license plates
Politics, State/National

Youngkin sides with Confederacy on property tax break, specialty license plates

Chris Graham
glenn youngkin
(© Eli Wilson – Shutterstock)

It’s been a good last couple of weeks for the Lost Cause, with the latest victory for the original insurrectionists coming via the pen of Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Youngkin, on Friday, vetoed a bill that would have repealed the authorization for the issuance of Sons of Confederate Veterans and Robert E. Lee special license plates, and vetoed another measure that would have eliminated a special tax exemption benefitting the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Inc. and the Confederate Memorial Literary Society.

Those wins for the losing side in the war over the ability of Southern planters to continue keeping slaves in bondage come on the heels of the vote of the Shenandoah County School Board last week to return the names of Confederate military “heroes” to two public schools.

The Youngkin vetoes continue a $53,000 annual tax subsidy for the United Daughters of the Confederacy and protect the 2,326 DMV specialty license plates for Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy currently in circulation.

Youngkin had originally tagged the two bills with amendments that would have required the Virginia General Assembly to pass the bills again in 2025.

All that would have done, obviously, was kick the can down the road to the 2025 state election cycle, because you know the General Assembly would pass the measures again, and that Youngkin won’t sign them into law.

Youngkin clearly wanted to make the Confederacy an issue for voters in the 2025 elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates.

Foiled in that effort when legislators failed to take up his amendments, the governor decided to go full steam ahead on claiming Friday that his vetoes are somehow about fairness.

On the license plates, Youngkin noted, in his veto statement, that the DMV “offers specialty plates for debated social issues, such as advocacy for fox hunting, coal, or internet infrastructure,” which, “internet infrastructure” is a “debated social issue”?

That’s news.

“In some instances, the plates represent overtly political statements, including pro-abortion, pro-life, for and against the Second Amendment, and even international relations concerning Tibet. Some of these plates may be offensive and controversial to some, but the Department oversees a neutral and impartial process for their approval and issuance, with ultimate approval by the legislature. This process ensures that all viewpoints are considered and that no one interest dominates,” Youngkin wrote.

Coming soon to a license plate near you: Jan. 6 license plates.

On the United Daughters of the Confederacy tax breaks, which were added to the state code in the 1950s, back when Virginia was mad, mad, mad about where things were going with the civil rights movement, and the Supreme Court mandating desegregation of public schools, Youngkin, in his veto statement, wrote that “(n)arrowly targeting specific organizations to gain or lose such tax exemptions sets an inappropriate precedent,” and that “(c)hoosing winners and losers is imprudent and undermines the tax system’s fairness.”

He wrote this in reference to a tax break narrowly targeted to benefit a specific organization passed by a General Assembly that was explicitly choosing winners and losers.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].