Home Budget, Economy Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis: Virginia Budget Conferees “Say No To Tax...

Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis: Virginia Budget Conferees “Say No To Tax Breaks for Millionaires, Yes to Historic K-12 Funding and More”

“Thankfully, under the leadership of Chair Lucas and Chair Torian, budget conferees soundly rejected the worst of the governor’s tax package"

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UPDATE 5:55 pm:

Virginia House Democratic Leadership Statement on the Budget

House and Senate Democrats Release Budget that Prioritizes Education, Healthcare, and Working Families

RICHMOND, VA – Today, House Appropriations Chairman Luke Torian and Senate Finance and Appropriations Chairwoman L. Louise Lucas announced an agreement on the budget. House Leadership released the following statement:

Speaker Don Scott said, “Our number one priority has been, and always will be, building a better future for our children and for hardworking Virginia families. Full stop. That is what we have been working towards in the last two months and that is what this budget reflects. I am thankful for the leadership of Chairman Torian and Chairwoman Lucas who have crafted a fiscally responsible budget that will grow our economy, support our workforce, and invest in our public schools.”

“I thank Chairman Torian and Chairwoman Lucas, our conferees, and all of the Appropriations staff, for their tireless work on a budget that keeps our commonwealth moving forward. In a time where healthcare, and especially reproductive healthcare, is under attack, this budget reflects our priorities and invests in improvements in Virginia’s healthcare system, addresses behavioral health, and ensures that every Virginian has the best opportunity to live, work, and raise a family,” said Majority Leader Charniele Herring.

House Appropriations Chairman Luke Torian said, “this budget prioritizes pay raises for our teachers and our state-supported employees, and supports an increase in the minimum wage. People should not have to work two or three jobs just to be able to keep their children fed and a roof over their head. We’ve also listened to the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and made historic investments in our public K-12 system, higher education, at-risk students, and early childhood education. We’re investing in protections for our communities and our environment to combat the growing risk of climate change. I thank Senator Lucas, Vice Chair Sickles, the other conferees, and our Appropriations staff for their work on this budget conference.”

The Conference Budget Reflects the Priorities that Democrats Previously Announced on the First Day of the 2024 Legislative Session. Included in the budget is…

Education

  • 3% salary increase each year in the biennium for our public school teachers
  • $2.5 billion in additional funding for K-12 public education
  • $527.8 million over the biennium to support early childhood education
  • $371.3 million over the biennium to implement several JLARC recommendations
  • $72.1 million to provide support for ELL students
  • $205.4 million over the biennium to increase access, affordability and degree production for public colleges and universities. This works to limit in-state undergraduate tuition increases and includes $40 million in support for HBCUs

Economy/Working Families

  • $79.5 million over the biennium to support increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15/hr. by January 2026
  • 3% salary increase each year of the biennium for state-supported employees
  • $175 million for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to support the creation or preservation of affordable housing
  • $40 million over the biennium for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program
  • $243.1 million over the biennium to backfill revenue lost from the removal of the  grocery sales tax

Health/Mental Health

  • $30.5 million over the biennium to combat the opioid epidemic in our Commonwealth, including…
    • $11 million for the Virginia Department of Health to purchase opioid reversal agents and test kits
    • $400,000 for the Virginia Department of Health to conduct a waster water demonstration project to test for fentanyl and norfentanyl
    • $100,000 to equip public schools with naloxone to combat the deadly opioid epidemic
  • $191.4 million to add additional DD waiver slots and a 3% rate increase each year of the biennium for DD services
  • $126 million over the biennium in additional mental health services
  • $6.2 million over the biennium to fully fund community health workers in local health departments
  • $40 million over the biennium to incentivize higher staffing for nursing homes

Public Safety

  • $75.1 million over the biennium for community violence intervention initiatives, including….
    • $18 million over the biennium for the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Program
    • $10 million for the Operation Ceasefire Grant Program
    • $7 million over the biennium to add Roanoke to the Safer Communities program
    • $6 million in additional support over the biennium for youth community violence programs
  • $21.3 million over the biennium to backfill and maintain funding for the VOCA Victims Services Grant Program and maintains funding for the Victim Witness, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence Victim and Victim Services grant programs

 

Natural Resources/Infrastructure

  • The budget directs the Governor to reenter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
  • $149.5 million over the biennium to improve our transportation system and ease the burden of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
  • $100 million for the Community Flood Preparedness Fund
  • $400 million to meet Chesapeake Bay improvement goals
  • $25 million for the City of Norfolk for Coastal Risk Storm Management Projects

 

Both Chambers will vote on the agreed budget on Saturday, March 9th before adjournment sine die for the 2024 Legislative Session.

From the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis:

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