Action Alert – Feb 9 2016Tuesday, February 09, 2016 - 08:30am
Budget amendment blitz week!
Each day this week we will highlight budget amendments that require your action before the House and Senate budget-writing committees complete their budget reports.
Action alert: Support these amendments on public safety
|Action needed this week: Register your SUPPORT for these amendments relating to public safety issues.|
- Fines and Forfeitures – If you are one of the 19 VML-member communities* affected by the fines and forfeitures seizure, please register your support for the budget amendments to delete the fines and forfeitures language in the budget.
- State aid for local law enforcement – If your community receives state assistance to local law enforcement (HB 599 program), please register your support for the budget amendments to bring the state share of assistance back to the FY2008 level of funding.
- Regional jail per diems – If your community participates in a local or regional jail, please register your support for budget amendments to increase the state funding for per diems in FY2017 and thereby decrease the funding gap for the projected level of need.
Deadline: Call or email delegates and senators this week.
Who to contact:
- Your member(s) on the House Appropriations or Senate Finance Committees
- If you do not have a member on these committees, email the Appropriations Committee Chairman and Finance Committee Co-Chair 1 /Co-Chair 2 and copy your delegation members.
See detailed talking points below on each of the three issues.
Fines and forfeitures amendments
There are a number of introduced amendments, all of which accomplish the same goal – deleting the budget language perpetuating the state seizure of local funds. We support any and all of these amendments. The amendments are all under Item 3-6.05 of the budget. Here are the amendments:
- The budget amendment(s) would delete only language in the Appropriations Act.
- The seized funds are not programmed in the state budget, so there’s no need to find off-setting revenue to make up for the budget amendment.
- A State Inspector General report (2013) found no legal justification for the state seizure of local fines and fees.
- An Attorney General Opinion (2013) stated that these fines and forfeitures are local revenues, not constitutionally required for deposit in the state Literary Fund.
*VML member communities affected by fines & forfeitures seizure:
Arlington, Alexandria, Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Fairfax, Falls Church, Franklin, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Newport News, Radford, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Waynesboro.
State Assistance to Local Law Enforcement (HB 599)
Three budget amendments were introduced to bring the State aid to local law enforcement (HB 599 program) to at least the pre-Great Recession level (FY2008). Here are the amendments:
Senate: Item 400 #1s – Wagner ($73.4 million)
- This program affects 38 cities, 128 towns, and 9 counties with police departments
- Approximately 69 percent of all Virginians depend on local police departments versus the 31 percent covered by sheriffs’ departments.
- This program was intended to cover 30 percent of local police department’s costs, but now covers only about 14 percent. State support for the program has particularly lagged since the Great Recession.
Jail Per Diems
Two budget amendments were introduced to increase funding in FY2017 to recognize projected state share of per diem costs ($11.3 million). Here are the amendments:
Senate: Item 70#1s (Barker)
House: Item 70#1h (Lingamfelter)
Per diem costs help pay for the care of local and state responsible inmates in local and regional jails The proposed appropriation in FY17 falls short of the projected need.
While budget language allows the state to “catch up” on its share in the caboose budget (as is proposed in the current year), the proposed FY17 budget contains a $11.3 million gap, which is a substantial amount to be made up in next year’s fourth quarter.