RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations will present a conservative, responsible budget proposal for the 2016-2018 biennium, Chairman S. Chris Jones said on the floor of the House of Delegates Thursday. Jones outlined the core elements of the House proposal in a speech to members. The House budget will be unveiled Sunday at 1 p.m. in House Room D.
“The Appropriations Committee stayed busy during the first half of the 2016 session preparing the House budget proposal,” said Jones (R-Suffolk). “As it always is, the House budget will be conservative and responsible. Our first priorities are to structurally balance the budget without Washington-style gimmicks and make responsible decisions that put Virginia on solid financial footing. The House will take prudent and cautious steps to safeguard taxpayers and protect our prestigious triple-A bond rating.”
The House budget will build on its longstanding commitment to conservative budgeting by:
- Depositing $605 million in the state’s rainy day fund, restoring the fund to 90 percent of its previous balance. By the end of the biennium, the fund will be at $845 million.
- Fully funding the state’s annual contribution to the Virginia Retirement System, two years ahead of schedule. The House of Delegates first proposed fully funding VRS in November, before the Governor’s budget proposal was released.
- Accelerating the $189.5 million repayment to the VRS for the contribution rate deferral in 2010. This is six years ahead of schedule.
- Eliminating the Accelerated Sales Tax on over 90% of businesses by the end of FY 2018.
- Proposing a bond package of $1.5 billion, which is nearly 40% smaller than the $2.4 billion package originally proposed by the Governor.
- Allocating excess revenues to reduce the amount of money borrowed for the bond package. Under the House proposal, if revenues exceed the modified forecast, that money will be used to pay down the balance of the bond package. Any revenues in excess of the original forecast will be allocated in accordance with the Constitution, state law and other budget requirements.
“The wisdom of the House’s conservative and cautious approach to state budgeting has been proven time and time again,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).“Our conservative budget amendments in 2015 led to the largest single-year revenue surplus in the history of the Commonwealth. We have maintained our Triple-A bond rating as other states and the federal government are being downgraded. I thank Chairman Jones and the entire House Appropriations Committee for their hard work and I look forward to seeing the entire budget on Sunday.”
“As a conservative, I believe government should exercise careful discretion when spending precious taxpayer resources. This is a philosophy that my colleagues and I on the Appropriations Committee put into practice every year,” said Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “”This budget will be consistent with the conservative budgets the House has always produced.”