Virginia House of Delegates leaders applauded Governor McAuliffe’s decision to sign the 2014-2016 budget without further amendments or vetoes Thursday. This is the first time a Governor has signed a budget without amendments or vetoes since 1998. The budget that the General Assembly passed ahead of schedule this year calls for $1 billion less in general fund spending, eliminates $11.7 million in fees and $33 million in debt proposed by the Governor and does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“Governor McAuliffe’s decision to sign the budget without amendments speaks to the quality of the work done by the Republican-led General Assembly,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “Working with the Senate, the House dictated very early what our priorities would be and they are reflected in the document the Governor signed today. We are spending $1 billion less from the general fund compared to the originally-adopted two-year budget, we eliminated fees and debt proposed by the Governor, we once again overwhelmingly rejected Medicaid expansion, and we prioritized spending to invest in our teachers, state employees and state police officers.
Speaker Howell added, “We did this with increased transparency for the public and completed our work ahead of schedule. I want to thank the Governor for his signature, as well as Chairman Jones, Vice-Chairman Landes, Leader Cox and both money committee for all of the hard work they did to make this possible.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) noted, “This has been one of the smoothest budget processes in recent memory and it was punctuated today with Governor McAuliffe’s signature. Since last summer, the House, Senate and the administration have developed a renewed commitment to bipartisanship and cooperation, allowing us to show that once again Virginia is a model for the nation. This is a good budget that reflects our priorities. I appreciate the work that Chairman Stosch and Chairman Colgan, my colleagues on House Appropriations Committee, Secretary Ric Brown and the Governor, as well as Robert Vaughn, Betsey Daley and both money committee staffs put in to get us here today.”
“I am very proud of the work that the Republican-led House and Senate did to make today possible. The Governor’s signature today is a byproduct of that work,” said House Majority Leader and budget conferee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We adopted a conservative, responsible budget that reduces general fund spending compared to the originally-adopted budget, eliminates debt and fee increases, rejects Medicaid expansion and prioritizes healthcare for the neediest Virginians. We held K-12 education harmless and gave our teachers a well-deserve pay raise. I thank the Governor and Secretary Brown for their willingness to work with us to pass a budget this year.”
House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman Steve Landes said, “With the Governor’s signature today, we have completed work on the budget with remarkably little controversy or disagreement. I am very proud of the budget adopted today, which rejects Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. I have said many times that Medicaid expansion is the wrong approach for Virginia. The document signed today offers an alternative approach that emphasizes providing targeted care to those who need it most, rather than a one-size-fits-all, government-run entitlement program. We are helping the seriously mentally ill, strengthening our free clinic system and building on past efforts to improve community behavioral health services.”
“Governor McAuliffe’s introduced budget did not include pay raises for state employee or state police officers. With a steadying economy and stronger revenues, the House and Senate were able to include pay raises for these public servants in the budget,” said Delegate John O’Bannon (R-Henrico). “Our state employees work hard for us every day and our state police officers are integral to the safety of our highways and communities. I am very pleased the adopted budget provided for them.”
Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudoun) added, “Through the budget shortfall last year, the House of Delegates worked very hard to prevent any cuts to K-12 education. Not only were we able to do that again this year, but we were also able to provide our teachers with a pay raise. This is the second pay raise in three years. It reflects our commitment to attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers. The budget also provides funding to continue our efforts to reform and improve the State’s Assessment System and the Standards of Learning tests. I thank Chairman Jones and Chairman Landes for their commitment to K-12 education and applaud the Governor for signing this budget without amendments.”