From Del. Luke Torian and Sen. Janet Howell:
Virginia General Assembly Passes Amended Biennial Budget
RICHMOND, VA – Today the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates passed an amended House Bill 1800, the 2020-2022 biennial budget, by votes of 29-10 and 67-32, respectively. The package of amendments reported by a joint committee of conference includes funding policies that will continue the work of the last special session to fund Virginia’s pandemic response and build a better Commonwealth. The updated budget will:
Protect Virginia families –
- Maintain affordable access to our public colleges and universities and provide $148 million more than the introduced budget to support public pre-K-12 education.
- Exceed every prior proposal with 5% pay raises for our teachers, state employees, adjunct faculty, and state-supported local employees.
- Make a record total investment of $125.7 million in the Housing Trust Fund.
- Reinvest savings from abolishing the death penalty into indigent and public defense programs.
Keep Virginia healthy –
- Maintain $37.2 million this year and $71.6 million in the next fiscal year in federal funds to support mass vaccination efforts and COVID-19 communications.
- Raise rates for home care workers to keep up with an increasing minimum wage and fund 40 hours of paid sick leave for home care workers.
- Increase nursing home payments by $15 per patient, per day.
- Expand access to prenatal care through Medicaid/FAMIS regardless of the pregnant person’s citizenship status.
Rebuild a stronger economy –
- Invest $100 million in broadband infrastructure.
- Fund a new round of small business grants through Rebuild Virginia.
- Fund overpayment forgiveness for Unemployment Insurance at the Virginia Employment Commission without raising employer UI taxes.
- Appropriate $34.5 million to implement the G3 community college initiative.
House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian issued the following statement: “This conference report reflects the best of each chamber’s proposals. It will protect our public schools from lost funding, address our students’ lost learning, and maintain affordable access to our colleges and universities. It will increase reimbursement rates for home care workers and nursing homes while fully funding vaccine distribution efforts. Thanks to Virginia’s strong economic standing, we have a deal that improves upon every prior proposal with 5% pay raises for teachers and state employees. We will exceed $2 billion in savings in our reserve fund so that we are prepared to meet Virginia’s ongoing and future needs. This is a fiscally sound, forward-looking budget that will pave the way for us to continue building a safer, healthier, and more equitable Commonwealth.”
Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell issued the following statement: “The Senate and House conferees have worked collaboratively to provide relief from the pandemic and strengthen our commitments to the people and the businesses of Virginia in a structurally balanced way. We were able to provide 5% pay increases for our employees and teachers while also making one-time investments in reserves, capital outlay, and tax relief for individuals and businesses related to conformity. I am thrilled we were able to restore so much of the funding we had included in last year’s budget – before the pandemic caused us to hit the pause button. This budget demonstrates Virginia’s resilience and it makes long-needed investments in health and human resources, education, and natural resources. I am especially proud of the historic investments in housing and broadband and the forward progress made in increasing waiver slots and rates for personal care attendants and nursing homes.”
Delegate Luke Torian represents House District 52 in the Virginia House of Delegates, serving Dale City, Woodbridge, and the towns of Dumfries and Occoquan. He has held office since 2009 and serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He is also a member of the House Rules and General Laws committees.
Since 1992 Janet Howell has represented Virginia’s 32nd Senate District (Reston, Tysons, and parts of Arlington, McLean, and Chantilly). She is the longest serving female legislator in Virginia history. In addition to chairing the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, she is a member of the Privileges and Elections, Education and Health, Local Government, and Rules Committees.