Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) released the following statement Thursday after the House of Delegates passed a responsible and balanced budget. The proposal will now go to the Senate and the differences between the House and Senate proposal will then be worked out in conference.
“I am proud the House approved the proposal put forth by the Committee on Appropriations that invests in the core functions of state government while responsibly investing in K-12 education, first responders, and our hard working state employees. This budget shows our commitment to growing our economy and improving the lives of all Virginians, while carefully guarding precious taxpayer dollars.
“This budget ensures more students have the opportunity to attend college and earn degrees in high-demand fields without taking on unnecessary student debt. The budget increases financial aid funding by $45 million and increases funding for higher education by $152 million. The proposal also deposits $91 million in the cash reserve to protect our Triple-A bond rating and offers teachers, state employees, and corrections officers pay raises.
“The budget provides a framework for implementing significant reforms in Virginia’s Medicaid program and allows for more low-income Virginians to have access to healthcare. Our plan is similar to the plan enacted by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Governor of Indiana, and includes some of the same key reforms that the Trump administration has already approved for other states. I still have concerns about the long-term solvency of this program, which is why we have included a “Taxpayer Safety Switch” that would protect Virginia in the event the federal government does not uphold its commitment.
“I am proud of the bipartisan work that has already gone into crafting this budget and look forward to passing a balanced budget on time.”