From the VA Legislative Black Caucus:
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Statement on the 2022 Budget
Richmond, VA—The members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) appreciate the positive aspects of the budget compromise but are disappointed in the cuts to necessary investments, the amount of legislating done in the budget, and the lack of transparency and public input in the 2022 budget process.
“I understand the legislative reality of reaching a compromise,” said VLBC Executive Committee Member Delegate Marcia Price (D-95th, Newport News). “As a result of those efforts, the budget contains some critical investments, like finally providing tax relief to over 600,000 low-income families by making the Earned Income Tax Credit refundable. But compromise should be about good-faith efforts on both sides, and by that measure, this budget fails miserably. It cuts funding for gun violence prevention by 53% from what was initially proposed. If we can’t be serious about funding efforts to save lives when we have historic revenues and in the midst of yet another national tragedy, when will we? And another fail is underfunding student mental health services while dumping millions to put more cops in schools. This budget is the result of a process that lacked transparency and public input, and it shows.”
“This budget includes a historic investment for a housing opportunity tax credit to expand affordable housing but it continues to underfund the Housing Trust Fund at a time when housing is critical to public health,” said Delegate Jeff Bourne (D-71st, Richmond). “The budget also includes long overdue teacher raises but continues to underfund our public schools to fund lab school pet projects. $100M was dedicated to lab schools when we should be investing those funds in our existing public schools and more mental health and other supports for students. There is also a significant reduction in At-Risk Add-on from the introduced budget. The VLBC will continue to fight for long overdue and critical investments. And we must do so alongside advocates and Virginians in a more transparent budget process with public input.”
The members of the VLBC are also vehemently opposed to the criminalization of marijuana in the budget. The VLBC has worked to champion legislation to legalize marijuana in an equitable way and will continue to push for necessary reform.