Senate Democrats Pass Prioritized Budget
RICHMOND – The Democratic - controlled Virginia Senate promoted prioritized spending and government transparency today as they adopted the FY2012 budget bill.
The Senate budget restores funding to K-12 education, public safety and healthcare, and it also includes amendments that will increase efficiency and transparency in Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli's office.
One amendment will save the state $184,000 by keeping a position of Senior Counsel to the Attorney General vacant and removed two proposed full-time permanent positions to support redistricting from the budget.
Another amendment directs the AG's office to fully implement a project time management system for tracking the time spent on the office’s activities, which will be reviewed by the Auditor of Public Accounts. The measure passed 27-13 with bi-partisan support.
"This is a practice in good government. These measures will increase the level of transparency at the Attorney General's Office. I think it's wise to have that office let the public be informed of the time spent on the various activities of that office," said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mary Margaret Whipple.
The Senate also focused on restoring funding in core areas that saw critical funding cuts over the last several years under the budget.
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 $18.7million in public safety funding to local governments and $2.5 million for community services for troubled youth. 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.