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Youngkin stands with the Confederates on tax break, specialty license plates

Chris Graham
glenn youngkin
(© lev radin – Shutterstock)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is taking a quite brave stand to try to continue a $53,000 annual tax break for the United Daughters of the Confederacy and to protect the 2,326 DMV specialty license plates for Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy in circulation.

Youngkin tagged legislation that would remove the tax breaks and kill the specialty plates with amendments that would require the Virginia General Assembly to pass the bills again in 2025.

All that would do, obviously, is 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 wants to make the Confederacy an issue for voters in the 2025 elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates.

This is where you’re reminded that D stands for “drive,” and R stands for “reverse.”

The proposed amendments come up for votes in Wednesday’s veto-override session. I don’t see that either bill would have near enough votes to get to the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor, mainly because there are too many Republicans who think like State Sen. John McGuire, who is challenging House Freedom Caucus chairman Bob Good for the Fifth District Republican congressional nomination from the right, if you can believe that.

This was McGuire, who is running at Good as the MAGA Trumper in the Fifth District race, on the specialty plates bill:

“If we pass this bill, a citizen will sue Virginia, and they will use this debate to show the intent of this bill is to kill speech because some in this body did not like the message,” McGuire said during a Feb. 27 floor hearing in the State Senate.

This, from a guy who was on the premises on Jan. 6 who wants us to ban critical race theory, which isn’t being taught in K-12 public schools, because he doesn’t like its message, though if you asked McGuire to explain what critical race theory is, good luck with getting a straight answer out of him on that.

Jinny Widowski, the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s president general, for her part, has, without a hint of irony, called the legislation that would take away her group’s tax break “an unfair, discriminatory tax bill, selectively targeting charitable and historical entities that support Virginia tourism, scholarship assistance and promote respectful dialogue about our shared past,” when the “unfair, discriminatory” part to the tax break is that it is going to a group like hers in the first place.

“The continued harassment of our ladies and our mission will not deter us from the charitable work that we do. The General Assembly of Virginia is the entity that required us to exist when they asked our ancestors to go to war and defend their borders,” Widowski said in a statement. “The biggest difference between the men we honor through our organization’s efforts and today’s politicians is, when the going got tough, our ancestors were willing to die for Virginia.”

Let me fix that for you: your ancestors were willing to die to protect the rights of Virginians and other Southerners to own slaves and profit from their forced labor.

The “going” that “got tough” for them was their four-year effort at what Trump and his MAGA movement tried on Jan. 6.

The odd part to this story is that Youngkin seems to think doing this to help the Confederate worshippers amongst us will somehow extend his political career.

Note to Gov. Youngkin: your political career is over once we get to that day in January 2026.

And it’s because of stupid moves like this one.

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].