SENATE DEMS COMMENT ON COMPROMISE SENATE BUDGET
RICHMOND — This afternoon, Senate Democrats made the following statements about SB 29 (the Senate’s proposed amendments to the current budget) and SB 30 (the Senate’s proposed budget for the coming biennium). Both budget bills reported from the Senate Finance committee on a bipartisan 15-0 vote.
Said ranking member Sen. Janet Howell (D - Fairfax), “I am pleased to support greater funding for our public schools, including the state share of well-deserved raises for our teachers, and I am glad to see increased financial aid for college students. I am also very pleased to see needed investments in family violence programs and permanent supportive housing. As with any compromise, though, there are parts of this budget that I would change. Notably, it fails to close the coverage gap that afflicts up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians.”
Said Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D - Fairfax), “The Senate budget is a structurally balanced plan, and it makes important, needed investments in infrastructure, economic development, and education. This proposal will help to create jobs and spur economic growth in Virginia, making our Commonwealth a better place in which to start a business or raise a family.”
Said Sen. Louise Lucas (D - Portsmouth), “This budget invests in education. It gives local school districts the resources and flexibility they need to best address their own local challenges. It aims to minimize hikes in college tuition, and it increases financial aid. While I am pleased with this progress, no compromise is perfect. I remain deeply disappointed that we have failed to close the coverage gap.”
Said Sen. Kenny Alexander (D - Norfolk), “One of our greatest accomplishments in this budget is that we are not tying the 2% pay raise for teachers to any estimates or forecasts of hitting financial targets, guaranteeing the raise regardless of the economic climate. Our teachers have been overworked and underpaid for far too long. This is something that I pushed for in subcommittee and I’m pleased that this is a piece of our budget going forward.”
Full details of the Senate budget, including subcommittee reports, will shortly be available here.