Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Articles, blog, News, Uncategorized |

House Conferees Announce Agreement with the Senate on the Budget Bill Conference Report

 

Richmond, VA – Yesterday, the House Budget Conferees announced they have finalized a conference report with the Senate for the 2017 Budget Bill. The final vote on the budget, in the form of House Bill 1500 and Senate Bill 900, is expected to take place on Friday evening.

“I am especially proud of our work on this year’s budget,” said House Budget Conferee Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudoun). “We faced significant challenges due to the revenue shortfall, but the House and Senate Conferees worked in a true bipartisan effort to finish ahead of schedule, ensuring a thoughtful, structurally balanced budget.”

Greason added, “Our budget includes significant investments that recognize and reward those hard-working Virginians in need of a pay raise.  Specifically, a pay raise for our state employees, state police, and teachers. I personally fought to have teacher salary increases included in this budget, with no required local match. Once Governor McAuliffe signs our budget, teachers in Loudoun, and across the Commonwealth, can expect a 2% raise beginning in February of 2018.”

“All the investments in this year’s budget were made without raising taxes or fees,” said Greason. “We added to K-12 funding, restored much of the Governor’s cuts to higher education, and sent $191.3 million from the lottery fund back to the localities with no strings attached.  We can all be proud of this bipartisan budget.”

 

2016-2018 Amended Budget Proposal Conference Report
Key Takeaways

 

  • The conference budget is a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget; general fund spending has decreased by 5% over 10 years when adjusted for population and inflation
  • Exceeds the Governor’s investment in K-12 education by approximately $18 million while increasing flexibility for local schools and reducing tax burden on local government
  • Invests in higher education by reducing the Governor’s cuts by $20 million, ensuring no school has a reduction that exceeds 1.5% of education & general
  • Makes strategic and targeted investments in economic development while emphasizing accountability and oversight
  • Funds a comprehensive package to combat domestic violence, including additional funding for prevention, treatment and counseling services
  • Builds on previous efforts to strengthen the health care safety net, creating new additional waiver slots, and expands access to mental health services.
  • Invests in Virginia’s hardworking state employees by providing a 3% pay raise and invests in our State Police by providing a salary increase.

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.
  • $1.2 million to restore funding for a special operations division for State Police.

Flexibility in K-12 Education

  • Includes a 2% pay raise for all teachers beginning in February of 2018
  • Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution, sending $191.3 million back to localities with almost no strings attached. This sends 35% of lottery proceeds back to local schools, which was the policy prior to 2010.
  • Establishes the 5-5-20 plan to support smaller school divisions with declining enrollment. That sends an additional $7.3 million to rural schools

Making College More Affordable

  • The conference 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.
  • Restore full funding to Virginia Tech Extension and VIMS
  • No reductions to Norfolk State University and Virginia State University

Economic Development

  • The conference 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
  • Restores $4 million to the INOVA Research Partnership

Combatting Domestic Violence

  • The conference budget complements the General Assembly’s legislative efforts to prevent and combat domestic violence.
  • Includes $1.5 million to expand domestic violence prevention, treatment and counseling programs and services for women and children.
  • Allows draw-down of $6 million in federal funding match

Stronger Healthcare Safety Net

  • The conference budget invests $32.2 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 144 new DD waiver slots.

Investing in Our State Employees

  • Includes $83.1 million for a 3% pay raise for state employees and college faculty.
  • The budget also sets aside funds to implement the findings and recommendations of Speaker Howell’s Commission on State Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform.
  • $200,000 for JLARC to complete a total compensation study of all state employees
  • $140,000 for state agencies to incorporate succession planning in their agency strategic plans