Governor McDonnell lays out budget amendments
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Governor Bob McDonnell outlined his proposed budget amendments during a Monday morning meeting. He proposed increasing funds in some areas:
- $64 million more for the state’s employee health insurance fund
- $58 million more for teacher raises
- $45 million more to aid local governments
“In this budget and during this session we must continue to focus on job creation and retention,” McDonnell told those gathering at the State Capitol.
In order to pay for transportation issues like roads and bridges, the governor wants to shift $48 million out of the general fund. Some lawmakers argue that general fund money should not be shifted – a charge Governor McDonnell refutes.
“I categorically reject the notion that you can not use the general fund for transportation,” McDonnell said.
The plan also calls for some cuts including the closure of some juvenile justice centers, including one in Chesterfield County and a $19 million cut in funding for at-risk youth programs. McDonnell says the cut is the result of a decline in casework.
The governor also elected to not fund a Medicaid expansion.
That has many Democrats upset including Chair of the Democratic Senate Caucus Don McEachin who released this statement
“The state’s budget should be a moral document that reflects the values and priorities of Virginians. I find unconscionable the Governor’s decision not to include any funding for the expansion of Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Virginia’s working poor. Expanding Medicaid will provide essential health care to hard-working Virginians who are struggling to support families as well as create jobs. In the upcoming General Assembly session, I hope to work with my collegues in the legislature to grow jobs and improve health care for Virginians by expanding Medicaid.”
Virginia lawmakers are still waiting what happens in Washington regarding the so called fiscal cliff as well as Governor McDonnell’s full transportation plan.