Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly released their proposed amendments to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s state budget last week, and focused heavily on further increasing funding for public schools.
McAuliffe’s proposed budget released in December and included 10 amendments to the current budget. The amendments aimed to increase general fund spending by $229.8 million, although the most notable increase aimed to expand Medicaid.
The Republican-controlled senate proposed a more conservative budget that includes a 2 percent teacher salary increase, effective Dec. 2016. The House budget also included an additional $237.1 million to keep tuition at public universities from increasing more than 3 percent a year.
“When I released my budget late last year, I urged the General Assembly to work with me on a spending plan that is balanced, conservative and strategic about the investments we need to build a new Virginia economy,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
Sen. Steve Newman, R-Stuart, said in a statement that the increased K-12 public funding should give schools more flexibility. The Senate accepted the governor’s proposed allocation of $48.2 for need-based undergraduate financial aid and adds an additional $10.1 million for graduate financial aid.
“I am pleased that these proposals include historic funding for Virginia’s education system and build on the well-deserved pay raise for our hard working state employees that I included in my introduced budget,” McAuliffe said.
My staff and I will review these proposals in detail over the coming days, but I am optimistic that we will reach a bipartisan consensus that will expand on the great success we are having growing and diversifying Virginia’s economy.”
The Senate’s proposal, excluding the general fund spending that would be reduced by reversing Medicaid spending, includes an additional increase of $20.1 million more than McAuliffe’s proposal for the Dept. of Health and Human Resources and an additional $15 million toward mental health services.
Megan Corsano, Contributing Writer