We survived crossover last week, with the House passing mostly regressive and backwards-moving GOP bills and the Senate passing some important reforms, many of which are unlikely to survive in the House.
This week we begin to focus on the budget:
The 2022-2024 budget, as introduced:
Governor Northam submitted amendments to the current operating budget, spanning biennium 7/1/20-6/30/22 (HB29 and SB29) as well as a budget for the next biennium, spanning 7/1/22-6/30/24 (HB30 and SB30) before leaving office.
$158 billion two-year budget
5% pay raises for all state employees, including teachers
Eliminates grocery tax, and reimburses schools for lost revenues resulting from cutting the tax
Adds $190 million to the House Trust Fund
One-time 2023 tax rebate of $250 for singles, $500 for couples
Refundable Earned Income Tax Credit
$500 million School Construction and Modernization grants
$116 million from General Fund plus $647 million federal money from Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds for transportation projects
$181 million from RGGI proceeds to Community Flood Preparedness
$85 million and $48 million to increase Department of Corrections guard compensation and Virginia State Police compensation, respectively
$209 million in higher education financial aid opportunities
Doubling the standard deduction for taxpayers ($2.1 billion)
Exempting military retirement benefits from state taxation
Increasing the proposed one-time tax rebates to $300 for singles, $600 couples
Suspending the $0.05/gallon gasoline tax increase
$150 million for “lab schools”
$50 million to put an SRO into every school
$100 million federal funds from American Rescue Plan Act to fund law enforcement training and equipment
House vs Senate budget:
The House and Senate money committees met on Sunday to approve the reports of the budget subcommittees, and report the budget out to the floor. Next will come discussions on the floor, proposed floor amendments, and then members of the House and Senate will go to conference to work out a compromise between the two very different budgets. Here are a few of the differences:
Both include the elimination of the grocery tax and menstrual products tax exemption
House doubles standard deduction
Senate gives $250/$500 one-time rebates; House gives $300/$600
Senate makes EITC refundable up to 20% of the federal EITC
Senate gives 5% each year pay raises to state employees and school teachers, plus targeted additional raises to jobs difficult to fill. House only gives 4% pay raises.
Senate raises direct care behavioral health worker pay to 75% of the benchmark; House only raises to 50th percentile.
Both budgets spend $89 million over the biennium to increase starting salaries of sheriff deputies and regional jail staff
2023 direct aid to local schools: $9.5 billion in Senate budget vs $8.8 billion in House budget; 2024 direct aid: $9.3b Senate vs $9.1b House
Senate adds $500 million from General Fund plus $200 million from the Literary Fund for school construction and modernization; House allocates $291 million from General Funds and $250 million from the Literary Fund
The House budget spends $58.3 million to increase at-risk add-on, while the Senate spends $268 million
Health and Human Services:
Senate allocates $33.8 million over the biennium for permanent supportive housing for those with severe mental illness, versus $18.7 million in the House
House and Senate both increase developmental disability waivers by 1200
Total Senate increases spending on Health and Human Services by $2.1 billion, where the House only adds $1.5 billion
The Senate deposits $170 million of the $370 million RGGI proceeds into the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, and another $190 million of those proceeds on a housing energy efficiency innovations program. The House report only mentions spending $11 million on flood damage in the town of Hurley.
Senate budget adds $190 million to the Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing construction
Senate spends $85 million on advance grant payments for Amazon HQ, House spends $120.5 million
Senate budget includes $10 million “driving decarbonization” fund and $10 million low- to moderate-income solar loan rebate program
If any of the above bills are important to you, now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them how this bill affects you and your family. Contact information for Delegates and Senators can be found HERE; if you aren’t sure who represents you, put your address in HERE to find out.
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network
PO Box 2612, Merrifield Virginia 22116-2612 United States