Northam touts Virginia’s fiscal health in proposed budget with major investments, tax cuts – WTOP
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled his outgoing state budget on Thursday in Richmond, highlighting major investments and tax cuts that he hopes will take place over the next two years.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled his outgoing state budget on Thursday in Richmond, highlighting major investments in education and behavioral health that he hopes will take place over the next two years.
Northam said the biennial 2022-2024 budget takes advantage of a healthy surplus in state revenues — $2.6 billion, the largest in Virginia’s history — that have been brought in thanks to sound money management over his term, which affords the commonwealth greater leniency to both invest and stow some of its cash.
“We’ve made targeted investments for the future, helped people get through the pandemic, and put money aside as a buffer for the future. This is possible because of strong, steady fiscal stewardship,” Northam told the various money committees in Richmond.
Most prominent in the outgoing governor’s proposed budget is a plan to raise teacher pay by 10%, which is broken down into 5% raises over the next two years. This was one of the hinted-at features of the budget in Northam’s “Thank You, Virginia” tour.
Other investments in education include $500 for localities to upgrade their facilities; nearly $270 million to support at-risk students; expanded funding for Virginia’s preschoolers by putting $73 million into the Child Care Development Fund; and more than $77 million in the early reading initiative over the next two years.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities will receive nearly $300 million for capital improvements, student support and other needs, while Tuition Assistance Grants for private school students will be raised to $5,000 per student over the next two years.
Along with that, Northam is proposing $150 million toward undergraduate financial assistance and $38 million in additional investments in the G3 program that provides free community college to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields.
More than $560 million is dedicated to addressing behavioral health priorities in the state, according to Northam’s proposed budget.
The bulk of that will be $263 million in funding community-based services to individuals with behavioral health needs, which include expanding permanent supportive housing, fully funding STEP VA services on community service boards and enhancing crisis services.
Nearly $165 million is going toward raises in direct care staff at state hospitals and training centers, with an additional $75 million proposed for boosting new behavioral health care standards and increasing the number of health care counselors in jails and the state’s Department of Corrections.
Northam also wants to see $675 million go toward greater eligibility of Medicaid …….
Leave a Comment