Danny's Desk: News from the Virginia General Assembly
Feb 07, 2017

We Vote on the House Budget Thursday: 

On Thursday, February 9th, the Virginia House of Delegates will vote on the House version of the amended two-year state budget. The House budget is a balanced budget that does not include any tax or fee increases.

General fund spending has decreased by 5% over 10 years when adjusted for population and inflation. We have to set priorities to keep taxes down while supporting core services.

The House Budget takes steps to secure the future of state employees; makes strategic investments in K-12 and higher education; provides a compression adjustment for employees in sheriffs’ offices and regional jails; increases pay for state troopers and Capitol police; continues to strengthen the health care safety net; and supports economic development.

Some highlights include:

Public Safety

  • Provides $14.6 million in funds to raise the starting salary of Virginia State Police to $43,000. All sworn troopers will receive a $6,793 salary increase.
  • Provides funds to raise the starting salary of the Division of Capitol Police to $42,750. All sworn personnel will receive a $4,355 salary increase
  • $7.3 million is given to provide a compression adjustment for employees in sheriffs’ offices and regional jails.

Flexibility in K-12 Education

  • The House budget proposal exceeds the Governor’s investment in K-12 education by nearly $13 million, but gives localities much needed flexibility by re-establishing the lottery proceeds distribution.
  • Invests $15 billion for direct aid to public education.
  • Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution, sending $218.7 million back to localities with almost no strings attached. 
  • Establishes the 10-10-10 plan to support smaller school divisions with declining enrollment. That sends an additional $9 million to rural schools.

Making College More Affordable

  • The House budget proposal builds on our continued effort to make college more affordable for Virginia families and includes $20 million more than Governor McAuliffe proposed for higher education funding.

Economic Development

  • The House budget funds strategic and targeted investments in economic development, while promoting increased accountability and oversight in coordination with our legislative priorities.
  • Restores $7.5 million in funds to GO Virginia that was cut by Governor McAuliffe

Combatting Domestic Violence

  • Includes $1.5 million to expand domestic violence prevention, treatment and counseling programs and services for women and children.

Stronger Healthcare Safety Net

  • The House budget does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and restores the Stanley amendment that prohibits the Governor from expanding Medicaid without consent of the General Assembly.
  • The House budget invests $28.5 million to build a stronger healthcare safety net, including funding for substance abuse treatment, and increases eligibility for the GAP program to 100% of FPL, which will cover 3,000 individuals.
  • Creates 100 new DD waiver slots.

Investing in Our State Employees

  • Includes $70.2 million for a 3% pay raise for state employees. The Governor’s budget proposal provided a 1.5% bonus.

This House Budget proposal has many positive aspects that will help Virginia and the citizens of our region. The final budget will be a compromise of amendments put forth in both the House and Senate to the Governor’s budget that was introduced in December. The House and Senate Budget versions will be reconciled through a Committee of Conference before the General Assembly adjourns on February 25th. The Virginia Budget is always a balanced budget by law.

If you live in my 14th District, I invite you to take our 2017 Survey on line. Visit www.dannymarshall.com  Look at the bottom right of the homepage to access the survey. You will need to provide your address for constituent verification.

As we consider the legislation before us, I want to know your views about the issues. You can access Virginia legislation on the General Assembly website at: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/

Our offices are located in Room 702 of the General Assembly Building.  If you can come to visit us in Richmond, please let us know ahead of time. You can contact us by sending an e-mail to DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov or by sending a letter to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218-0406, or by calling 804-698-1014.