A progressive budget from the Democratic majority

A progressive budget from the Democratic majority
A progressive budget from the Democratic majority!
A progressive budget from the Democratic majority!
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Newsletter
February 23, 2020

This week the House and Senate Finance and Appropriations committees completed their work amending the Governor’s budget, and brought their budget bills to the floor for a vote.

Here are a few details of the Governor’s budget and the amendments made in committee and on the floor (not all-inclusive by any means, just whatever caught my eye). Bear in mind, the Senate and House need to reconcile differences and the Governor must agree.

Governor Northam’s proposed 2020-2022 budget
  • New tax revenues: An increase to the cigarette (doubling the tax per pack) and tobacco taxes, the gasoline tax ($0.12/gallon over several years) and taxing games of skill terminals yields additional revenue that can be spent on programs.
  • New K-12 spending: 3% salary increase for K-12 teachers for July 2021, and updated costs of K-12 Standards of Quality, fund school counselors (reach 1:250 students ratio in 2022)
  • Virginia Preschool Initiative: Expand VPI to deliver pre-k services for at least 1,000 at-risk three- and four-year-old children each year.
  • G3 Program: Northam’s promised G3 community college program–Get Skilled, Get a job, Give back is budgeted $145 million for the biennium. 
  • Healthcare spending: $675 million for increased Medicaid costs and inflation in healthcare prices; $146 million over two years to create a reinsurance program (it’s like an insurance program for insurers, and is used to help stabilize the marketplace and lower premiums).
  • Fiscal responsibility: Adds $395 million to the Rainy Day (emergency expenses) Fund.
  • Housing: An additional $56 million promised to the Housing Trust Fund over the two years, bringing the total fund up to $70 million. Additionally, creation of an eviction prevention and diversion pilot program, $3.3 million each year.
  • Transportation spending: increases WMATA funding to $160 million annually, sets aside $50 million a year to new transit and an additional $50 million a year specifically to passenger rail initiatives.
  • Help for rural areas: $16 million per year to Virginia Telecommunications Initiative bringing broadband to areas that are lacking; Adding $600,000 per year to the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) providing low-income rural communities with technical assistance and support for water, wastewater and community development projects
  • Water quality: Additional $42 million deposit in the Water Quality Improvement Fund, plus $20 million for dam safety work and $31 million to the Land Conservation Fund.

House budget amendments
  • Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (HD-15) attempted to amend the budget on the floor to renegotiate the Medicaid expansion waiver; Delegate Poindexter (HD-09) attempted an amendment to block Governor Northam from joining RGGI; Delegate LaRock (HD-33) proposed an amendment to prevent any state funds being used for abortion services. All failed.
  • Significant cuts to funding of Governor Northam’s G3 program, parks and recreation spending, dams restoration, and a miscellaneous $100 million cushion built in for unexpected expenses.
Senate budget amendments
  • Cuts to Governor’s G3 program, to the 2022 Housing Trust Fund deposit, and the $100 million/yr for “uncommitted contingencies” in the Governor’s budget.

If any of the above bills are important to you, now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them how this bill affects you and your family. Contact information for Delegates and Senators can be found HERE; if you aren’t sure who represents you, put your address in HERE to find out.

Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network

PO Box 2612, Merrifield
Virginia 22116-2612 United States

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