From the VA Legislative Black Caucus:
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Statement on Governor Youngkin’s Budget Amendments
Richmond, VA—The members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) have reviewed the budget amendments recently released by Governor Glenn Youngkin and will continue the fight to support and protect Virginians by blocking the administration’s damaging efforts to roll back the progress we’ve made over the past two years.
Some of these bad-faith efforts by the administration include budget amendments that will:
- Restrict reproductive access by banning Medicaid-eligible Virginians from receiving funding to end pregnancies with severe fetal diagnoses. This only disproportionately impacts low-income and moderate-income Virginians who qualify for Medicaid and could disproportionately impact people of color (Amendment 30);
- Silence free speech and expression by criminalizing protests (Amendment 35);
- Roll back the Earned Sentence Credit bill (Amendment 19);
- Undo pretrial reform by bringing back a presumption of detention for people accused of certain crimes, rather than the better approach of an individualized assessment (Amendment 32);
- Eliminate $5M in funding that would provide financial assistance to immigrant students. The money is redirected in a way that attempts to pit communities of color against one another and perpetuates a false scarcity problem. Both items can and should be funded (Amendment 8);
- Not prioritize our underfunded public schools and instead support and fund pet projects for private college (Amendment 29, Amendment 33); and
- Reintroduce Governor Youngkin’s gas tax suspension that will not guarantee savings for Virginians. This gas tax suspension cuts off funding necessary to meet our transportation and infrastructure needs and places strict caps on future transportation revenue that will cut off funds needed for new projects, maintenance, and public transit. In fact, 30% of so-called “gas tax savings” would flow to the oil industry and 24% to people who live outside of Virginia (Amendment 31).
The members of the VLBC stand with advocates in rejecting these and other harmful efforts and will continue the fight to protect all Virginians. These harmful amendments are clearly part of a larger effort to roll back progress and take us backward.