The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations released proposed amendments to the two-year budget on Sunday that eliminates all spending based on higher taxes proposed by Governor Northam and includes additional investments in public education, school safety, higher education, and economic development. The budget also identifies $120 million in healthcare savings, strengthens taxpayer protections in the Medicaid forecasting process, eliminates unfunded liabilities and saves $729 million in state spending over the next quarter-century.
“Once again, the House Appropriations Committee has crafted a responsible, balanced budget that reflects our multi-year priorities,” said House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The House continues to demonstrate a commitment to fiscal responsibility, balancing the budget without the proposed tax increase. Yet, because of a growing economy and smart decisions, the budget still invests in our top priorities like public education and tuition affordability. I want to thank Chairman Chris Jones, Vice Chairman Steve Landes, and the Committee members for their great work.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones said, “We started building our budget with guidelines to remove from consideration any revenue based on the federal tax changes and to eliminate any spending based on that revenue. This set the foundation for the Committee’s work, and I am pleased with our final product. We are continuing our multi-year efforts to responsibly invest in a stronger economy, provide more funding and flexibility to local schools, and make college more affordable. I appreciate the work of my colleagues on the committee and the hard work of the staff over these short four weeks.”
“Last week I announced on the House floor that our budget would include funding for a five percent teacher pay raise,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Steve Landes. “That is one piece of a robust package for public education that increases funding by $155 million. Most importantly, however, we are providing flexibility for localities by increasing the amount of lottery money returned to the schools with no strings attached. Our budget returns 45 percent of lottery money to localities, a $70 million increase from the adopted budget. The General Assembly has provided over $2 billion in increased funding for public education since the great recession and we will continue to build on those investments this year.”
“Making college more affordable has been a top priority of the Speaker, Chairman Jones, and the entire House in recent years, and this budget builds on our efforts in previous years,” said Higher Education Subcommittee Chairman Nick Rush (R-Montgomery). “We are providing $45 million to hold tuition levels flat at our colleges and universities, a major commitment that will have an immediate impact on Virginia families. We are funding the Tech Talent Pipeline to help create 25,000 new computer science degrees, major investments in broadband, and a substantial increase in our workforce credential grant program. All of this help strengthen our economy for years to come.”