Senate Democrats Applaud Governor Northam’s Budget Priorities

Senate Democrats Applaud Governor Northam’s Budget Priorities

RICHMOND, Va.: Today, Gov. Ralph Northam presented his budget priorities heading in to the 2021 legislative session. The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus offered this response:

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said: “Protecting the health of Virginians and ensuring economic security for all in the Commonwealth are top of mind for everyone. Governor Northam has put forward budget proposals that will keep us healthy, including money for pandemic response and vaccine distribution. $23 million will go toward helping Virginians enroll in the healthcare exchange.

“The budget proposal also invests in our public schools, providing bonuses for teachers and funding for more school counselors to support students and educators both now and in the future. Funding to expand broadband will help not only businesses but also students who require the internet to attend school and continue learning safely at home.

“In addition, Gov. Northam has provided funds to Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund and the Rent and Mortgage Relief Fund to help make sure people have stable housing throughout the pandemic and economic recovery.

“Rebuilding our economy stronger throughout 2021 as federal aid through the CARES Act comes to an end is a top priority for the Governor and Senate Democrats, and this budget reflects that.”

Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Gov. Northam’s budget shows his dedication, and our dedication, to social justice.

“Under the Governor’s budget, $25 million goes toward remembering Virginia’s past through the lens of inclusive history. I appreciate Gov. Northam’s efforts to preserve and uplift Black history in the Commonwealth.

“In addition, Gov. Northam has allotted funds to continue reforming the criminal justice system, making steps toward fair and unbiased courts and law enforcement. Investing in the Department of Corrections to expand inmate sentence credits, allocating funds to pay for the cost of expungement reforms and automatic expungements, and expanding the Court of Appeals to expedite case hearings are some of the steps the Governor has taken to begin addressing racial injustice in the Commonwealth.

“Adult-use cannabis legalization is also a priority in the proposed budget. Marijuana arrests disproportionately impact people of color, and legalization will help not only right racial wrongs but also bring tax dollars in via the Governor’s legalization roadmap.

“Governor Northam’s proposals are a good first step toward protecting health, continuing economic recovery, and addressing social justice. We are ready to get to work for Virginians.”


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