Statement of Speaker William J. Howell on the Unanimous Passage of House Budget Amendments

HouseGOP2012 General Assembly Session

RICHMOND, VA – This afternoon Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) issued the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee released its amendments to House Bill 29 and House Bill 30, the Biennial Budgets for Fiscal Years 2010-12 and 2012-14, respectively. The House Appropriations Committee met at 1:00 PM to unveil various amendments to the current budget as well as amendments to the Governor’s introduced 2012-14 budget. Following two hours of discussion, the full committee of 15 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted unanimously to pass all amendments.

“I want to commend the hard work of the House Appropriations Committee and staff for once again crafting thoughtful, prudent budget amendments that will benefit all Virginians. The unanimous committee vote is reflective of the earnest efforts of Delegates Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and the entire Committee to engage all 100 members of the House as we craft a budget that will serve the Commonwealth for the next two years. Our budget amendments emphasize strategic reserves to ensure Virginia’s continued financial well-being, relief to struggling localities and continued investment in Virginia’s educational institutions. We believe focusing on these key priorities while sensibly providing for the core services of government will bring the maximum benefit possible to Virginia’s taxpayers,” said Howell.

“The House budget passed today is a balanced and responsible proposal. Our amendments to the Governor’s introduced budget emphasize fiscal awareness as we continue to emerge from a recession and face the possibility of federal cuts that would adversely affect Virginia’s bottom line. To that end, the House amendments include nearly $300 million in deposits to the Rainy Day Fund, $50 million for the Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) Fund and creation of a second revenue reserve fund of $42.2 million to protect against downward revisions to the Commonwealth’s revenue forecast. Should that revenue reserve fund be unneeded following FY 2013 revenue collections, it will be distributed as a 2% pay increase for state employees,” he said.

“Further, the House budget provides help to our localities by providing $138 million in inflation adjustments over the introduced budget and restoring $70 million in aid to localities. These efforts improve the structural relationship between the Commonwealth and its localities and are important priorities for the House over the 2012-14 biennium. Also of note, our amendments increase funding for various early childhood education initiatives, continue our investment in higher education and provide for those most in need by restoring the safety net, providing for Medicaid to hospitals and nursing homes and adding waiver slots for intellectually and developmentally disabled services,” Howell continued.

“Our amendments strategically plan for Virginia’s future while funding necessary government services throughout the Commonwealth. I hope that our budget proposal, like last year’s, will pass unanimously when the full House takes up this measures on Thursday, February 23 and we look forward to working with Governor McDonnell and the Senate as we execute our most important constitutional duty – passing a budget on time.”

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