On Sunday the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations proposed a biannual budget that includes no tax or fee increases, takes steps to eliminate future liabilities, and makes strategic investments in K-12 and higher education. The House budget is a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget. General fund spending has decreased by 5% over 10 years when adjusted for population and inflation. Here are some highlights from the House budget.
- The proposed budget deposits $605 million in the state’s rainy day fund.
- Fully funds the annual contributions to the Virginia Retirement System at 100% of the Board certified rates which re-pays the funds deferred from VRS in 2010, six years ahead of schedule.
- Exceeds the Governor’s investment in K-12 education by nearly $70 million while increasing flexibility for local schools and reducing tax burden on local government.
- Includes $83.3 million for a 2% teacher pay raise in the second year of the budget.
- Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution, sending $272 million back to localities with almost no strings attached. This sends 31% of lottery proceeds back to local schools by FY18. The House goal is to fully restore the 40% distribution, which was the policy prior to 2010.
- Includes $3.2 million to fully fund the House legislative proposals on domestic violence.
- Includes $2 million to expand domestic violence prevention, treatment and counseling programs and services for women and children.
- Includes $5 million for rapid re-housing efforts. Rapid re-housing funding is used to provide safe shelter for veterans and victims of domestic violence.
- The House budget invests $28.9 million in new funding to build a stronger healthcare safety net, including funding for substance abuse treatment, to create two new PACT teams, and increase eligibility for the GAP program to 80% of FPL.
- Creates new DD waiver slots to address the critical waiting list.
- Includes $197.9 million for a 3% pay raise in the first year of the budget for state employees, college faculty and state-supported local employees. The Governor’s budget proposal provided a pay raise in the second year.
- The budget also sets aside $28.2 million in FY18 to implement the findings and recommendations of Speaker Howell’s Commission on State Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform.
Over the coming weeks budget negotiations will go on between the House, Senate and Governor’s Office. The final budget will be voted on during the last week of the 2016 General Assembly Session. To see the budget in its entirety please visit http://budget.lis.virginia.gov.
As always, I appreciate hearing from my constituents. Please stay in touch and let me know your thoughts on issues important to you. You may contact my office by emailing me at [email protected] or by calling (804) 698-1027.