Virginia lawmakers are kicking off the 2019 legislative session, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam will update lawmakers on the state of the Commonwealth.

The General Assembly convened at noon Wednesday and Northam will deliver his speech in the evening.

Day one kicked off with a lot of energy and enthusiasm as lawmakers vowed to get things done. 

"I think everybody has a whole host of bills as it relates to criminal justice, the environment, transportation, things that are just really important to folks back in our districts," said Del. Jay Jones, 89th District (D).

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"For us, it's going to be healthcare affordability and giving the tax back to the people that paid it in," said Sen. Bill DeSteph (R) District 8. "Top two priorities."

However, one issue will overshadow everything this year: the budget.

The state has $1.2 billion extra because of changes to the federal tax code. Governor Northam said he wants to provide a fully refundable tax credit to families making $54,000 a year or less. He also wants to distribute extra money to schools, improving water quality and universal broadband access.

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"I think we're going to be able to do some great things with the new money that we made in the budget for the first time in a long time," said Del. Mike Mullin (D), 93rd District. 

But Republicans said this will result in higher taxes for more than 600,000 middle-class taxpayers. 

"The Republicans also want to see that the actual taxpayers, the working middle class get some benefit out of this," said Norment. "So it's just going to require compromise but I think it's reasonable that we can achieve it - I really do."

Republicans said they want to allow taxpayers to itemize state taxes regardless of their federal tax return and increase the state standard deduction.

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This year's session is scheduled to last 45 days, so it will end on Feb. 23.

Much of the focus will be on state tax policy and whether to expand gambling in Virginia.

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This year marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown, the New World's first representative legislative assembly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.