The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of April 2, 2014.
Special Session Begins Work on State Budget
Last week, we returned to Richmond for the first day of our special session to finalize Virginia’s two-year, $90 billion budget.
Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed amendments to the budget originally introduced. The major change was for Virginia to expand its Medicaid program to all adults earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level with the cost reimbursed by the federal government for the next three years and phased down to 90 percent of the cost by the year 2020 pursuant to the Federal Affordable Care Act.
Shifting this cost to the federal government frees up at least $225 million of Virginia taxpayer money to fund other programs this budget cycle. Governor McAuliffe proposes to use those savings to provide $100 million for a “rainy day fund” to cover potential future Medicaid expenditures as requested by Republican Senators. He also budgets $76 million to shore up the Virginia Retirement System because the General Assembly borrowed money to balance the budget back in 2010-2011.