Home Budget, Economy VA Senate Democrats Issue Statement on Passage (on a 39-1 vote) of...

VA Senate Democrats Issue Statement on Passage (on a 39-1 vote) of 2024 Biennium Budget

Sen. Louise Lucas: "This budget is a resounding win for Virginia, setting the stage for prosperity and progress for years to come"

45
7

From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus:

Senate Democrats Issue Statement on Passage of 2024 Biennium Budget

RICHMOND, VA – This afternoon, the Virginia General Assembly voted on the groundbreaking Biennium budget. This historic, bipartisan budget features record-breaking investments in education, behavioral health services, and transportation. Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on a 39—1 vote, this budget represents a unified commitment to Virginia’s future. Senate Democrats budget conferees have released the following statements:

“This budget is a testament to our dedication and determination. We’ve crafted a budget that truly serves all Virginians, addressing their needs and aspirations. From bolstering education to enhancing public health and modernizing infrastructure, every decision was made with the well-being of our communities at the forefront. We’re not just responding to today’s challenges; we’re building a brighter, more equitable future for everyone in the Commonwealth. This budget is a resounding win for Virginia, setting the stage for prosperity and progress for years to come,” said Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair L. Louise Lucas.

“Education is the cornerstone of our future, and this budget makes historic investments in both K-12 and higher education. By dedicating over $2 billion in direct aid to K-12 schools and significantly boosting funding for colleges and universities, we’re ensuring that every student in Virginia has access to top-tier education. These investments not only elevate educational outcomes but also prepare our young people to thrive in a competitive world. We’re laying the groundwork for a stronger, more innovative Virginia, poised to lead and excel in the years to come. This budget is a game-changer for our educational landscape and a monumental win for our state’s future,” said Senate Democrats Chair Mamie Locke.

“This budget prioritizes the wellness of all Virginians by making substantial investments in behavioral and mental health services. With nearly $2 billion in increased funding, we’re focusing on early intervention, especially in schools, and expanding access to telehealth services. These initiatives ensure that mental health support is available to every Virginian, no matter where they live. We’re committed to tackling public health challenges head-on, reducing long-term societal costs, and fostering a healthier, more resilient Commonwealth. This budget is a step towards a brighter, healthier future for Virginia,” said Senator Creigh Deeds.

“This budget makes transformative investments in Virginia’s transportation infrastructure, ensuring safer and more efficient travel for all. With over $6 billion allocated for road and bridge improvements, and significant funding directed towards modernizing public transit, we’re committed to connecting our communities and driving economic growth. This budget paves the way for a more connected, accessible, and forward-thinking Commonwealth. It’s a bold step towards a future where every corner of Virginia thrives,” Said Senator Jennifer Boysko.

****************

UPDATE: See below for a statement from Freedom Virginia

Five Key Takeaways on the Newly Passed 2024-2026 Biennial State Budget

The General Assembly voted today to accept the budget deal reached by Governor Youngkin and conferees. While the governor’s decision to block the bipartisan budget sent to his desk could have led to a government shutdown, Democrats both averted the crisis and successfully fought to ensure the most pernicious provisions of the governor’s original budget did not end up in the final deal.

Here are five key takeaways on the budget that was passed today:

 1.  No State Sales Tax Rate Increase

The budget that Governor Youngkin proposed in December would have raised the state sales tax rate from 4.3% to 5.1%. Democrats opposed this regressive tax, which would have hit working families harder than the ultra-wealthy. Democrats successfully fought to ensure there would be no increase in the state sales tax rate in the budget.

 2.  No Tax Giveaways for the Ultra-Wealthy

Governor Youngkin’s December budget included tax giveaways for the ultra-wealthy. His total tax package would have resulted in a nearly $10,000 handout for the wealthiest 1 percent, while raising overall taxes on hardworking people making under $58,000 per year. Democrats successfully fought to defeat this tax scheme.

  3.  Rejects Youngkin’s $300 Million Cut to Public Schools

Gov. Youngkin’s December budget would have slashed funding for public K-12 schools by nearly $300 million compared to current levels. The budget passed today preserves that funding and includes the state’s portion of a 3% pay increase for school employees each year.

 4.   Gives Up Billions in RGGI Funds, Putting Further Strain on Future Budgets

By failing to include Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the state budget, the General Assembly is giving up billions of dollars of funding for resilience projects in coming years. The loss of that money will put further strain on the General Fund, jeopardizing resources for other priorities, including public schools.

 5.   Does Not Close the Big Tech Loophole, as Gov. Youngkin Had Proposed

The governor flip-flopped on his initial proposal to close what he called “the Big Tech loophole” in December. Youngkin evidently did not believe corporations should have to pay their fair share. The final deal does not close the loophole, resulting in $169 million less in direct aid to schools compared to the bipartisan budget passed in March. Rural schools and schools serving families with lower incomes would have benefited the most from that funding had it been included.

Freedom Virginia Executive Director Rhena Hicks issued the following statement:

“This budget makes significant investments in K-12 public schools, health care and other critical priorities, due to Democratic legislators’ work in fighting to include these investments. Compared to the Governor’s proposed budget in December, this budget includes more funding for public schools, teacher pay and critical health programs. Democrats prevented the governor’s proposed cuts to education, and defeated his tax scheme that would have raised taxes on hardworking people while giving handouts to the ultra-wealthy.

“The fact remains that Governor Youngkin blocked a bipartisan budget because he did not want corporations to pay their fair share to fund our schools, and now our rural schools in particular are missing out on that investment. Governor Youngkin also blocked progress on affordability by vetoing a Paid Family and Medical Leave program and a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. And he stood with big corporations and special interests in refusing to continue the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will further impact Virginia’s fiscal health. Virginia’s tax code remains unfair and our schools remain underfunded. There is a lot of work ahead to ensure millionaires pay their fair share and hardworking families can keep more of what they earn.”

###
Freedom Virginia is a nonpartisan 501(c)4 organization committed to building a Commonwealth where all Virginia families have the freedom to thrive. Freedom Virginia advances economic security policies through grassroots activism, voter engagement and legislative advocacy. Our efforts began in 2020 and since then we’ve pushed for a more economically secure Virginia by sharing real stories about Virginians’ lack of access to affordable healthcare, education, energy, and the need for policies that foster more safety for families. Visit our website at freedomva.org to learn more. 
********************************************************


Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleThe Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis: “Virginia Budget Leaders Maintain Many Key Investments, Miss Opportunity To Secure Ongoing Funding”
Next articleTuesday News: “Blinken visits Ukraine as Russian forces step up Kharkiv assault”; NY Case “Cuts to the Core of Who Trump Is”; “Killing Dogs. Taunting the Homeless. Praising Al Capone. This Is Trump’s Party.”; Youngkin Signs 2-Year Budget