See below for video of this morning’s Virginia budget briefing, as well as statements from House Appropriations Committee Chair Del. Luke Torian (D) and Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) on the newly approved budget. Nice work by everyone who got this done!
Virginia General Assembly Passes Biennial Budget
RICHMOND, VA – The General Assembly approved House Bills 29 and 30 on Thursday, March 12. The biennial spending budget, HB30, passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 66-24 and the state Senate by a vote of 27-11. The budget includes significant funding increases for Virginia’s public education system, affordable health care, and workers’ rights.
House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian issued the following statement: “We made history today. This session the Appropriations Committee worked to create a budget that would reflect the values and the needs of all Virginians. We aimed to raise employee compensation, increase workforce equity, and make health care and higher education more accessible for all Virginians.
We are increasing equitable access to higher education through a historic funding package. Our budget continues tuition moderation through 2021. Historically Black Colleges and Universities will receive the historically high funding that was proposed in the original House budget. K-12 education funding will be above 2008 levels for the first time since the Great Recession.
We are addressing health care equity and affordability. This budget supports the establishment of a State Health Benefit Exchange to lower insurance costs and raises Medicaid provider reimbursement rates to preserve access to critical services such as the Developmental Disability Waiver program and residential supported living. This budget also creates a Medicaid adult dental benefit and extends Medicaid coverage through 12 months postpartum. All these changes will have a significant impact on public health in the Commonwealth.
For too long, Virginia has touted our status as a top state to do business while neglecting the rights and opportunities of those working in the Commonwealth. This session has shown historic progress for labor rights and workplace equity which is accounted for in our budget, such as expanded workers’ compensation and a higher minimum wage. We go beyond the Governor’s proposal by giving well-deserved raises and bonuses to state and state-supported local employees.
This budget shores up our reserves to the highest point in history for the inevitable rainy day. It guards Virginia’s AAA bond rating while advancing equity of opportunity across the Commonwealth. In these ways, it meets our goals for the people of Virginia.”
Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell issued the following statement: “The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee worked tirelessly this Session to have a budget that prioritizes the people of Virginia while maintaining structural balance in order to protect Virginia’s AAA bond rating.
The budget that was passed today makes unparalleled investments in health care by increasing provider rates and granting access to dental coverage for low-income Virginians. It also meaningfully expands funding for early childhood programs, increases affordable and supportive housing access, allocates additional funding for need-based financial aid, and gives employee groups, including teachers, well-deserved raises.
I am proud of this landmark budget that brings combined reserves to over $2 billion by the end of FY 2022 while also further addressing the priorities of all Virginians.”