Excerpt from media release from the office of Kirk Cox on February 18, 2018
House of Delegates releases balanced and responsible House budget
The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations proposed a two-year state budget Sunday that includes no new general fund taxes, pay raises for teachers and state employees, additional funding for the cash reserve to protect our Triple-A bond rating, $98 million more than the governor originally proposed for K-12 education, and a responsible approach to healthcare that guarantees conservative reforms. This budget builds on a multi-year effort by the House to prudently and thoughtfully invest in key areas in ways that grow our economy, improve the lives of Virginians, and carefully guards precious taxpayer dollars.
I am proud of the responsibly balanced budget that was released by the Committee on Appropriations, which invests in the core functions of state government like K-12 education, higher education, transportation, and public safety (said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)). I’m particularly pleased with the emphasis on fostering partnerships and collaboration with business, promoting internships in high-demand fields, and prioritizing affordability in higher education. These steps will drive economic growth and job creation, keep talented young people in our state, and make degrees and credentials both affordable and marketable.
On healthcare Cox added:
My longstanding concerns about the cost of expansion aren’t going away, but unfortunately the ACA is here to stay and the Trump administration is the best chance to secure conservative reforms. The governor agreed to an Indiana-style model with a strong work requirement instead of straightforward Medicaid expansion. This is an opportunity to guarantee these conservative pieces for the long term.
This budget proposal includes a responsible path to increasing healthcare funding for low-income Virginians while ensuring long-sought and conservative reforms to Medicaid. Under this plan, Virginia will begin working with the Trump administration to apply for healthcare funding under the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously pursuing key conservative reforms like a work requirement, cost-sharing to make sure people have skin in the game, and personal responsibility incentives. The budget also protects taxpayers by requiring hospitals to pay for the state cost and creating a “Taxpayer Safety Switch,” which will make sure that if the federal government ever backs out of its commitment to pay for the cost, this plan will end.
The budget also fully-funds our required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System and is structurally balanced, ensuring that Virginia maintains its Triple-A bond rating and long-term fiscal health.
I cannot thank the members of the Appropriations Committee and all the staff enough for the work they did to craft this budget (said House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk)). The House budget is responsible, conservative, structurally-balanced, and consistent with the long-term public policy objectives of the House of Delegates. We are carefully guarding taxpayer resources while looking down the road to build a Commonwealth that puts people in good paying jobs, gives our children the opportunities they deserve, and much more.
In K-12 Education, the budget increases the amount of lottery money being sent to school divisions by $91 million, fully-funds re-benchmarking, provides state funding for a two percent teacher pay raise beginning July 1, includes $6 million in additional funding for small school systems, provides $2.3 million in targeted funding for early childhood education, and provides $3.4 million in funding for school security infrastructure upgrades.
The House budget provides $30 million more in higher education funding than the budget originally proposed by the governor, a total increase of over $152 million. As we have done in recent years, we continue to focus on affordability and putting college students on paths to good paying jobs.
The budget unveiled today focuses on both K-12 and higher education as part of our long-term efforts to grow our economy (said House Majority Whip Nick Rish (R-Montgomery)). We are providing additional funding for rural and shrinking school systems and incentivizing partnerships between businesses and institutions of higher education, both key steps to get people the right skills to get good-paying jobs. Most importantly it ensures Virginia maintains its Triple-A bond rating and long-term fiscal health. Our strong financial posture makes it easier for businesses to grow and thrive in our Commonwealth.