Legislative Bulletin February 6, 2023Monday, February 06, 2023 - 02:56pm
In this issue:
- House and Senate release their budget blueprints
- A few highlights from Sunday’s budget briefings
House and Senate release their budget blueprints
Amendments to be released tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 7)
On Sunday afternoon, the House Appropriations and Senate Finance & Appropriations Committees put their cards on the table, revealing their respective budget plans for the 2023 Session. To be precise, the money committees approved reports from their subcommittees that begin to shed light on the House and Senate budgets.
Missing from these reports are the details behind the narrative documents and spreadsheets that were released yesterday. Without the Committee’s budget amendments that will be made public tomorrow afternoon, it’s difficult to fully understand what the House and Senate intend.
What is clear is that the House endorsed the Governor’s tax proposals, resulting in $1.0 billion less to spend than the Senate. The Senate did not approve the tax proposals, meaning the Senators had more general funds to allocate than the House.
Where those differences manifest themselves is primarily in K-12 education, where the Senate proposed an additional $589 million compared to the introduced budget. Most of that increase is related to the complete elimination of the support position cap – $271 million – that has been in place for more than a decade.
The other substantive funding differences are evident in the Health and Human Resources budget, where the Senate proposes 5 to 10 percent increases for certain health care providers and recommends additional funding for permanent supportive housing and other behavioral health services.
The complete amendments from each committee will be available tomorrow, Feb. 7, after 12 noon when they will be posted on the General Assembly website here >.
VML staff will review these amendments and report on them later this week.
In the meantime, if you want to read the initial reports from the money committees, you can visit the House Appropriations website and the Senate Appropriations and Finance website.
VML Contact: Joe Flores, email@example.com
A few highlights from Sunday’s budget briefings
While we don’t have complete information on amendments, below are a few items from Senate and House initial budget reports that address issues of interest to VML members.
Keeping with the theme from the last few years, the few similar K-12 education funding line items between the House and Senate budget committees are outnumbered by the definite differences.
*Indicates amendments that VML worked on.
Similar line items (so far):
- Eliminate the proposed teacher retention bonuses.
- Add funds for an additional two percent teacher salary raise in FY2024 (for a total of 7 percent).
- Add funds for school safety resource officers and grants.
- Hold school divisions harmless for grocery tax errors in the VDOE direct aid calculator tool. (Calculation Tool Error)*
The top three largest differences we find (before seeing all the amendments) between the Senate’s and the House’s proposals are as follows:
- Funding to fully remove the Support Cap.*
- Redirect funding from laboratory schools to fix the VDOE direct aid calculation tool.
- Several amendments to address funding and positions for support staff and instructional aides.*
- Increase funding for Virginia’s Governor Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER).
- Modifies funding formula for laboratory schools.
There are amendments in both committees regarding eligibility for the School Construction Assistance Program. However, as the full details have not yet been released, we will parse the differences after all the amendments have been released.
HB 599 funding. The Senate adds $2,062,920 in FY2024 to the state assistance to local law enforcement (HB 599) program. It does not appear that the House increased funding for this program; the introduced budget did not do so. VML and local partners worked on amendments to increase funding to this program.
Local responsible per diems. The Senate increases the local responsible per diem rate from the current $4 to $6, taking us halfway back to the level paid before the Great Recession. It does not appear that the House increased the rate. VML and local partners worked on amendments to bring the rate back up to what it was before the Great Recession.
Presidential primary funding
The House and the Senate budgets both include an additional $1.36 million to increase the reimbursement amount included in the introduced budget for the 2024 Presidential primary. VML and other local government stakeholders worked to get amendments introduced on this issue.
The Code of Virginia requires the Commonwealth to reimburse localities for Presidential primary costs. Additional funding than what was included in the introduced budget was needed to account for growth in the number of registered voters and inflation, as well as increased complexity of election administration.
VML Contacts: K-12 Education and Elections – Josette Bulova, firstname.lastname@example.org; Public Safety – Janet Areson, email@example.com