Senate Democrats Deliver Better Budget
RICHMOND – The Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved a balanced budget calling for no new taxes Sunday afternoon.
The Senate budget restores funding to K-12 education, public safety and healthcare. However, Senate Democrats did accept several of Gov. Bob McDonnell's budget recommendations.
"Our budget embraces the recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation, providing almost $47million for economic development initiatives. Small businesses are the key to Virginia's economic recovery and job creation," said Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Colgan, D-Manassas.
The Senate's bipartisan budget efforts also extend to higher education and transportation.
Colgan said this year's budgeting process was considerably easier this year as the state saw a modest amount of additional revenues, which will not be used for costly new initiatives.
"What you will see is restoration of funding reductions in our core responsibilities of education, health care, and public safety, along with targeted new investments in higher education and economic development,” he said.
The Senate budget provides a $100million net increase for K-12 education and the restoration of $16.6 million in “hold harmless” funding. The budget also $18.7 in public safety funding to local governments and $2.5 million for community services for troubled youth. The public safety budget also calls for the opening of a new correctional facility which will create 232 new jobs in Grayson County.
In addition to funding increases for public safety and education, the budget also includes additional funding for health and human resources. The budget adds $114million to the general fund for health care and restores $105million for Medicaid providers and services, plus $101million from Medicaid matching funds for a total increase of $206million.
"We're investing in our people in education, public safety and healthcare. We're putting people first," said Senator Janet Howell, D-Reston, about the Senate version of the budget.