Sunday, March 14, 2010

Voting No on the State Budget

Today, the State adopted a Budget that undercuts many of its core responsibilities. I voted No. Here is why.
  • The State has already reduced its budget by $7 Billion before this session ever began - a huge amount.
  • The Budget further reduces $250 million from K-12 education funding.
  • The Budget reduces $50 million in funding from higher education funding
  • The Budget reduces $150 million in funding for health insurance for the poor
  • The Budget reduces retirement and benefits payments to government employees by nearly $900 million
  • The Budget reduces funding to Constitutional Officers, localities and public safety by over $250 million.
  • This Budget puts at risk our AAA Bond rating and our state retirement system.
  • Juxtaposed against this, the Budget funds movie star tax credits, wine promotion, and $48 million in tax breaks for corporations.
  • We were given approximately two hours to review the Revised Budget, debate it and vote on it.
Our Caucus along with the Senate achieved many victories in this process:
  • The House Budget's original $700 million education cut was reduced to $250 million
  • The Local Composite Index rebenchmarking was restored along with education funding for Northern Virginia called "Cost to Complete"
  • The Revised Budget removed block grant funding for programs for at-risk children and it restored funding for school breakfast programs and homeless programs.
  • The Revised Budget used federal Medical matching money (FMAP) only for Medicaid expenditures instead of "borrowing" it for other programs.

My grandfather always taught me that you either pay less for things now or you pay more for them later. I do not believe these budget "cuts" are cuts. They are simply reductions in funding on going responsibilities that are now being pushed onto the poor, the uneducated, to middle class families and local government who now have to make the tough decisions.

Educating our children, caring for the poor, and keeping our public safe are a core responsibilities of state government. This Budget does not do that. It balances our budgets on the backs of the poor, the sick, the disabled, college students and their families, and the criminal justice system.

And we haven't done a single thing to resolve this state's transportation crisis.

1 comment:

  1. In tough times, the government needs to step in, support those in need. That's the function of local, state and national government entities! Since tax revenues fall during these tough times, governments have fewer resources, just when the demand from constituents for services, support is most urgent. This is why governments often run deficits during tough times-- they are appropriately responding to constituent needs! Yes, they should be careful with resources but, governments must respond, MUST provide the safety nets constituents need! Where else can folks turn?