Governor McDonnell has unveiled a proposed $85-billion state budget for the 2013-2014 biennium. As promised, it plows an additional $100-million per year into higher education and $2.2-billion into the Virginia Retirement System.
To prepare for federal budget cuts and preserve the state’s high credit rating, the Governor adds dollars to a new contingency fund. His plan also requires school divisions to report how much money is spent in the classroom.
“This budget includes $438 million in total new state spending for public education during the biennium,” said Gov. McDonnell.
That total includes state pension funds. He also invests more in economic development and job creation, which Democratic Senator Janet Howell supports along with the higher ed and pension funding–but Democrats oppose the Governor’s phasing in a larger share of the sales tax for transportation maintenance.
“We do not and will not support transferring General Fund monies to transportation. And, I would point out that the Lieutenant Governor is not allowed to vote on the budget,” said Howell.
McDonnell increases funds for Medicaid, which now consumes one-fifth of the General Fund, but does not fund the inflation rate for providers. The plan calls for some higher DMV fees but has no tax increases.
— Anne Marie Morgan