Budget

Virginia Lawmakers on Sequestration

Mar 23, 2015
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The House and Senate are set to debate the nation’s budget this week and it has huge implications for the region. Virginia lawmakers are fighting to keep those indiscriminate budget cuts known as sequestration at bay.

No post session per diems, last-minute deals, and burning of the midnight oil this year. While the votes were not unanimous, Senate and House lawmakers have passed a state budget that includes pay raises for state employees, college faculty, state police, and teachers.

House Minority Leader David Toscano argued that law enforcement, school faculty, and other employees are still without the support they need.

"The budget doesn't go far enough, but it is a process and we'll continue to make it---push to make it better, not just this year, but in years ahead."

File Photo

Both the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate today overwhelmingly approved their respective versions of the state’s spending plan.  Budget day at the Virginia State Capitol typically reveals how lawmakers really feel about the state of the Commonwealth and how dire things are.

A lot weighs heavily on the House budget, and Appropriations Chair Chris Jones insists that it has much of what Virginia needs-including pay raises for state employees, teachers, and state police, and no cuts to K-12 education.

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President Obama’s budget revived a debate at the Capitol over energy policy and climate change. 

As lawmakers like to say, “budgets embody values,” and on the Hill there’s no question over whether the president’s budget shows his values in regards to the nation’s energy sector. He wants to hike clean energy spending by seven percent and offer a myriad of states some four billion dollars if they clean up their air at a quicker pace. Virginia Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith says the budget would be another blow to his southwestern district.      

There’s good news from the Governor and the heads of the General Assembly’s money committees. Despite dealing earlier with a significant revenue shortfall, the state is now seeing a $338-million revenue bump from withholding through corporate income tax and insurance premiums.

It amounts to $162 million more over the biennium after a $176 million  deposit into the Rainy Day Fund. Governor McAuliffe says it provides a little extra money to spend as the budget is crafted.

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