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VA Governor Wants Pay Hike for Teachers

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is calling on lawmakers to raise teacher pay and extend tax breaks to low-income families.

The Democratic governor addressed the GOP-controlled legislature Wednesday, the start of the 2019 legislative session.

Northam also proposed decriminalizing marijuana, extending high-speed internet access in rural areas and allowing no-excuse early voting.

The session is likely to be dominated by debate over tax policy and what to do with a projected windfall in state revenues due to a 2017 federal tax overhaul.

Northam wants to help low-income taxpayers he said were neglected by President Donald Trump's tax plan. Republicans say the governor is trying to implement a "hidden" tax increase on the middle class, who should see their state tax bill lowered.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.