Some Virginia policy analysts say after months of stalling and keeping constituents on the edge of their seats, the General Assembly still blundered by passing a budget without Medicaid expansion.
Groups that include Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis say that not only has the budget left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without affordable healthcare options—but residents are left with a gaping budgetary hole that needs to be filled.
The state's economists and fiscal experts are urging lawmakers to pass a budget as soon as possible to help mitigate lower revenues by tapping into the state's rainy day fund.
They informed the House Appropriations Committee that if lawmakers don't act soon, the state has much to lose.
Like April, May's revenue forecast is still lower than projected. At this rate, the House Appropriation Committee’s Robert Vaughn says the projected deficit carried into fiscal year 20-15 is hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Virginia Senate has passed its version of the state budget for the next two fiscal years, which begin on July 1st.
Senators introduced the spending bill proposed by Governor McAuliffe, then added their own touches— including Marketplace Virginia, the private-insurance alternative to Medicaid expansion. But by the end of the day the Senate and the House were no closer to resolving their budget stalemate.
One reason it's prudent for lawmakers to review the fine print of amendments offered to the Virginia state budget is because it may contain legislation that might not pass both houses on its own. Such is the case with an amendment approved by the House and attached to its version of the state budget. It directs the executive branch on how to proceed in controversial cases, such as the lawsuit challenging Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.