While a group of conferees attempt to draft a compromise state budget, a progressive coalition is reminding them not to forget about the 99% of Virginians—whom the group says have been left out of the House spending bill. ‘Progress Virginia’ claims that while lawmakers have proposed tax incentives that aid corporations and private school students, they have not included funding for services that benefit the majority of Virginians.
The coalition argues that while the McDonnell administration says Public Broadcasting should compete in the free market — although it educates millions of children — it also set aside millions of dollars to enable private school scholarships. And while it gives tax breaks for the coal, nuclear, natural gas, and oil industries, it’s against unions and healthcare for workers exposed to toxins. Fredericksburg senior citizen Shirley Johnson says older Virginians helped build this state, but they’re left without someone to care for them.
“I’ve lost my parents, four siblings, my husband, and one of my sons with inadequate Healthcare. Both of my parents and so many others in my family were left behind by our government, and this new budget that they’re proposing will leave even more Virginians like my parents–even a sibling. No matter what heights human suffering reaches in Virginia, our government just keeps on cutting,” said Johnson.
Coalition members say they’re not part of the group of Democrats who are holding out for committee assignments, but they do support taking a stand to find the money or raise taxes instead of a cuts-only approach.