Budget Deal Released, Vote Scheduled for Thursday
Lawmakers come back to Richmond Thursday to vote on the state’s two-year $135 billion budget. Details of the document deal were released Monday.
For the first time the budget gets K-12 per-pupil spending back above what it was before the Great Recession, adjusted for inflation. Lawmakers are also allocating more money for additional guidance counselors and ESL teachers, as well as the state share of a 4-percent for raise for all teachers spread over two years.
There is no across the board raise for state employees, however there are targeted compression adjustments for some positions, as well as bonuses for state police, correction officers, and local social services staff.
In higher education, lawmakers are continuing big jumps in funding for schools that agree to keep tuition flat. They’re also funding more need based aid, as well as additional dollars for the state’s historically black college and universities.
In healthcare, Medicaid will be expanded to include dental coverage. The state is also funding a health insurance exchange so shoppers in Virginia can opt into a state-specific marketplace rather than the federally run ACA marketplace.
The budget does not include an increase in income taxes, that was never on the table, but it does rely on a jump in the gas tax and cigarette tax.
Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the budget Thursday.
You can find the full budget deal here.