Lawmakers Urged to Plan Now, In Case Trade War Hurts Virginia

May 21, 2019

Virginia revenues are looking strong.  But a trade war and heavy debt at the federal level could threaten that.

In a presentation to lawmakers this week, Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne warned that President Trump’s trade war with China could have an impact on Virginia’s port.  “The Port’s doing great. We’re running well ahead of our projections," Layne told the Senate Finance Committee.  "If, in fact, we have some type of disruption, we’ve seen a little bit with soybeans, that’s something we’re going to have to monitor. As people make these disruptions.”

Layne suggested lawmakers start thinking ahead to prepare for those possible disruptions now while the state coffers are flush with cash. 

He also told lawmakers that revenues are strong enough to move forward with a plan to pay all Virginia taxpayers an additional refund this fall.

Lamakers also got their first glimpse of how people are using their new Medicaid coverage, thanks to expanded eligibility that began in January.

In the first two months of the year, more than 175,000 new Medicaid enrollees have visited a doctor, and more than 80,000 have filled a prescription.

Jennifer Lee, who runs the program, delivered that data to lawmakers Tuesday.  “And looking at some of these prescriptions and looking at some of the diagnoses that are being submitted into what they’re seeing providers for, we can begin to develop a picture of the types of conditions that the folks in this new coverage group are experiencing.”   Those conditions include hypertension, diabetes, mental illness, substance use disorder, and some even have cancer.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.