The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) and the Senate of Virginia Committee on Finance Co-Chairmen Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) today outlined the employee compensation elements of House Bill 1500 and Senate Bill 900.
The proposal includes a 3% pay raise for state employees, funds to raise the starting salary of Virginia State Police, and funds to address salary compression issues for sheriff’s deputies. The committees responsible for the budget bills will unveil their complete proposals on February 5, 2017.
“I am very pleased that the House and Senate agree that compensation is a top priority of our respective bodies,” said House Appropriations Chairman Jones. “Today’s announcement is the first step in a multi-step process in dealing with compensation for out state employees. Last year we said that addressing state employee pay and addressing the critical needs of the Virginia State Police were our top priority. Unfortunately, our employees lost the scheduled pay raise due to the failure to meet the 2016 revenue projections, despite the fact that the state’s funding for pay raises for all employee groups was tied to meeting the revenue forecast, teachers and college faculty still received pay raises last year. The reality is that state employees and state police only have the General Assembly to turn to. Our actions today go a long way toward securing a better and brighter future for Virginia’s state employees. While we have reached agreement on state employee compensation, there is still much work to be done. The House and Senate will continue to meet over the coming days to reach a final conservative budget proposal that invests in the core functions of government and is structurally balanced.”
“From the beginning of this session, addressing the deficiencies in pay for our State Police was a major priority for the Senate,” said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Hanger. “Although we are facing a challenging year addressing the budget shortfall, providing a compensation increase for the men and women who keep the Commonwealth safe became a focal point of our efforts before the session started. The Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee have been working on solutions to this challenge, and I am very grateful to the members of our respective staffs for the diligence they have shown in working toward a resolution.”
“I think this may be a landmark year for cooperation between House Appropriations and Senate Finance,” said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Norment, Senate Majority Leader. “From the beginning, we have identified our shared goals and collaboratively addressed them. When you’re confronting a revenue shortfall, there are tough choices with no easy answers. But, I think we’re poised to send a budget agreement to the Governor with strong support from both parties and both chambers.”