The following press release is from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. Personally, I’d argue that this budget has good parts (e.g., 10% teacher pay increases, lifts support cap on K-12 employees, Earned Income Tax Credit refundability) and bad parts (cutting taxes in a way that disproportionately helps wealthier Virginians and doesn’t replace lost revenues; a new marijuana misdemeanor; $100 million for “lab schools”; etc.). So…mixed bag at best.
Statement: Conference Budget Proposal Makes Notable Investments in Working Families and Public Education, Yet More Work Remains
VIRGINIA – Today, Ashley C. Kenneth, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) released the following statement on the conference budget proposal following negotiations between the House of Delegates and Senate:
“From the start, Virginia families deserved a budget that helps them make ends meet and invests in the future. This conference proposal makes some notable steps in that direction, including much-needed relief for parents.
“This includes significant improvements to Virginia’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which would provide targeted relief to families living paycheck to paycheck. Strengthening the EITC represents a signature accomplishment that follows more than a decade of work by advocates and lawmakers.
“Other important provisions for people in Virginia with low incomes include increased benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and improved access to dental care for those enrolled in Medicaid.
“In public education, the conference budget proposal calls for providing the state share of a 5% increase in pay each year for teachers and other school staff, plus a $1,000 one-time bonus using federal funds. In addition, the conference proposal includes $1.25 billion for school construction and modernization, increases funding for the At-Risk-Add-On program that helps students in school divisions with high poverty rates, and provides nearly $272 million to increase support staff positions in schools.
“While the conference budget proposal takes some important steps forward, much more work lies ahead to build a prosperous and equitable future for all people in our commonwealth. We can and must do more to make affordable housing a reality in Virginia, meet critical transportation needs in our communities, protect against efforts to divert funding away from public schools, and ensure that all families, including immigrant families, have the opportunity to thrive. Virginia’s policymakers should seize every moment to make progress in these areas, both in the context of this budget and in future legislation.”
For additional details, check out TCI’s new side-by-side comparison of the House, Senate, and conference budget proposals. In February 2022, TCI compared the introduced budget to the House and Senate Proposals.
About The Commonwealth Institute
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis advances racial and economic justice in Virginia by advocating for public policies that are designed in partnership with people most impacted, and shaped by credible, accessible fiscal and policy research. Our independent research and analysis drives key state budget, legislative, and policy changes that break down barriers and create opportunity for people and communities across Virginia. Visit www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org for more information.