General Assembly Special Session: The Latest
The House of Delegates was hard at work Tuesday night…and following lengthy debate, approved a new state budget for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. It’s the only budget bill that’s moved forward so far during the Special Session that began on Monday. House conferees incorporated some of the items they discussed during initial budget negotiations with their Senate counterparts.
House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said the budget includes cost-of-competing funds for Northern Virginia schools and extra compensation for college faculty and state employees.
“We’ve gone to a one percent bonus in the first year and a one percent pay raise in the second year. So we’ve obviously upped that compensation some. The new budget will have a one percent teacher pay raise in the second year. Now that will be for both teachers and what we call support staff. So that’s a big one.”
Cox said the plan increases the number of intellectual and developmental disability waivers. It adds funds to reflect recent legislation for crisis intervention and treatment.
“We put a lot of money—$43 million—originally in for mental health. And we nudged that up. We thought there were some other things we could do in addition to that in our new proposal.”
Higher Ed funding adds slots for Virginia students.
“And so we told those schools: If you will increase the seats at your university for in-state students, we will fund those seats. And we’ve kept that promise. This is the fourth year of that promise.”
Cox said to achieve structural balance, the budget fully funds the state pension system by 2016.
The House rejected an effort to replace this budget with Governor McAuliffe’s spending plan, which includes Medicaid expansion.