The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations proposed a two-year state budget Sunday that includes no new general fund taxes, pay raises for teachers and state employees, additional funding for the cash reserve to protect our Triple-A bond rating, $98 million more than the governor originally proposed for K-12 education, and a responsible approach to healthcare that guarantees conservative reforms. This budget builds on a multi-year effort by the House to prudently and thoughtfully invest in key areas in ways that grow our economy, improve the lives of Virginians, and carefully guards precious taxpayer dollars.
“I am proud of the responsibly balanced budget that was released by the Committee on Appropriations, which invests in the core functions of state government like K-12 education, higher education, transportation, and public safety,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “I’m particularly pleased with the emphasis on fostering partnerships and collaboration with business, promoting internships in high-demand fields, and prioritizing affordability in higher education. These steps will drive economic growth and job creation, keep talented young people in our state, and make degrees and credentials both affordable and marketable.”
On healthcare Cox added, “My longstanding concerns about the cost of expansion aren’t going away, but unfortunately the ACA is here to stay and the Trump administration is the best chance to secure conservative reforms. The governor agreed to an Indiana-style model with a strong work requirement instead of straightforward Medicaid expansion. This is an opportunity to guarantee these conservative pieces for the long term.”
This budget proposal includes a responsible path to increasing healthcare funding for low-income Virginians while ensuring long-sought and conservative reforms to Medicaid. Under this plan, Virginia will begin working with the Trump administration to apply for healthcare funding under the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously pursuing key conservative reforms like a work requirement, cost-sharing to make sure people have skin in the game, and personal responsibility incentives. The budget also protects taxpayers by requiring hospitals to pay for the state cost and creating a “Taxpayer Safety Switch,” which will make sure that if the federal government ever backs out of its commitment to pay for the cost, this plan will end.
The budget also fully-funds our required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System and is structurally balanced, ensuring that Virginia maintains its Triple-A bond rating and long-term fiscal health.
“I cannot thank the members of the Appropriations Committee and all the staff enough for the work they did to craft this budget,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “The House budget is responsible, conservative, structurally-balanced, and consistent with the long-term public policy objectives of the House of Delegates. We are carefully guarding taxpayer resources while looking down the road to build a Commonwealth that puts people in good paying jobs, gives our children the opportunities they deserve, and much more.”
In K-12 Education, the budget increases the amount of lottery money being sent to school divisions by $91 million, fully-funds re-benchmarking, provides state funding for a two percent teacher pay raise beginning July 1, includes $6 million in additional funding for small school systems, provides $2.3 million in targeted funding for early childhood education, and provides $3.4 million in funding for school security infrastructure upgrades.
The House budget provides $30 million more in higher education funding than the budget originally proposed by the governor, a total increase of over $152 million. As we have done in recent years, we continue to focus on affordability and putting college students on paths to good paying jobs.
“The budget unveiled today focuses on both K-12 and higher education as part of our long-term efforts to grow our economy,” said House Majority Whip Nick Rush (R-Montgomery). “We are providing additional funding for rural and shrinking school systems and incentivizing partnerships between businesses and institutions of higher education, both key steps to get people the right skills to get good-paying jobs. Most importantly it ensures Virginia maintains its Triple-A bond rating and long-term fiscal health. Our strong financial posture makes it easier for businesses to grow and thrive in our Commonwealth.”
2018-2020 House Budget Proposal
- Balanced With No General Fund Tax Increases
- Deposits $91 million in the cash reserve to protect our Triple-A bond rating
- Provides a two percent teacher pay raise and fully-funds K-12 rebenchmarking
- Provides a two percent across the board pay raise for state employees and a one-time two percent state employee bonus
- Over $150 million in targeted money for higher education to grow our economy
- Responsible approach to healthcare that guarantees conservative reforms
Conservative Healthcare Reform
- The budget includes language to require Virginia to begin working with the Trump administration to use federal Medicaid funds to provide private health insurance to low-income Virginians, while ensuring that key conservative reforms like a work requirement are included.
- Our plan is very similar to the conservative approach Vice President Mike Pence enacted into law while Governor of Indiana.
- We have included mechanisms to make sure that any new healthcare funding is tied to key reforms that will be implemented through a waiver to the Affordable Care Act. We are also confident that the Trump administration will ensure that we get all of the reforms we need before providing the funding needed to expand coverage.
- The most important reform is a work requirement, which we call the “Training, Education and Employment Opportunity” program. Virginia led the way in the 1990s to help people get off public assistance and into good paying jobs. We need to replicate the success of “workfare” in Medicaid.
- Our plan also ensures that people are put in private health insurance plans, either by providing premium assistance to enroll in a individual market plan or premium assistance to enroll in their employer-sponsored plan.
- One of our biggest concerns is that Virginia will get stuck paying more. We took steps to protect taxpayers by requiring hospitals to pay for the state cost and creating a “Taxpayer Safety Switch.”
- The “Taxpayer Safety Switch” will make sure that if the federal government ever backs out of its commitment to pay for the cost, the plan will end.
- The plan requires hospitals to pay for 100 percent of the state’s share of the cost, which is currently 7.5% and will increase to 10% by 2020.
- The budget also includes $45 million in funding for over 800 new Medicaid waiver slots and six new CIT assessment centers. These key investments continue our long-term commitment to supporting those with behavioral health needs.
- Provides $6.4 million to fully-fund the cost of ensuring same-day access at Community Service Boards
- The budget includes $11.1 million to provide primary care screening services at Community Service Boards.
- Includes language to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion on-demand.
Flexibility in K-12 Education
- On K-12 education, the House budget fully-funds “re-benchmarking,” provides a two percent teacher pay raise six months sooner than the governor proposed, and sends more money back to local schools with no strings attached.
- The budget includes $98 million more than the governor originally proposed for K-12 education,
- Fully funds re-benchmarking, an increase of $480 million
- Increases the amount of lottery money being sent to school divisions by $91 million
- Provides state funding for a two percent teacher pay raise beginning July 1
- Includes $6 million in additional funding for small school systems
- Provides $2.3 million in targeted funding for early childhood education
- Provides $3.4 million in funding for school security infrastructure upgrades
Making College More Affordable
- Our investments in higher education are meant to promote stronger partnerships with the private sector, make college costs more affordable and predictable, help keep young people in the state and ensure that Virginia maintains its world-class system of colleges and universities
- The budget provides $30 million more in higher education funding than the budget originally proposed by the governor, a total increase of over $152 million
- Ties $42 million in increased funding to degree-production metrics
- Increases financial aid funding by $45 million
- Provides $40 million for the innovative and forward thinking “CyberX” initiative
- Provides $1.8 million in TAG funding
- Provides $2 million in new funding to expand the Online Virginia Network
Growing Our Economy
- Provides $350 million to dredge the Port of Virginia
- Includes more than $4 million in funding for broadband development
- Increases by $15 million state funding for the business-led GO Virginia initiative
- Increases funding for site development and economic development marketing by $5 million
- Provides $4 million in funding for the “New Economy Workforce Credential Grant”
Hardworking State Employees
- The budget provides a two percent across the board state employee pay raise
- Also provides funding for a one-time two percent state employee bonus
- The budget provides funding to pay the state share of the state employee health care premium increase, so those costs are not passed on to employees.
- The budget also fully-funds our required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System.
- Our budget invests in the brave men and women of law enforcement, continuing our commitment to keeping our communities safe
- providing $18 million in new “599 funding” for local law enforcement
- We are increasing pay for our corrections’ officers, a major step forward that will save the state money in the long run by eliminating overtime and reducing turnover. These are hard-to-staff positions, but they’re important to the overall safety of our commonwealth
- The budget includes $2.8 million to establish an additional 10-member tactical team in the Special Operations Division at State Police
Agriculture & the Environment
- The budget deposits $22.5 million into the Water Quality Improvement Fund this year, consistent with our statutory obligation after the 2017 budget surplus
- We provide $18.4 million in funding for agricultural best management practices