The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of February 16, 2016.
The Senate Budget Emerges
This week, the seventh of this session of the Virginia General Assembly, both the Senate and House of Delegates are considering the state’s two-year budget. After each house passes a budget, a joint conference committee resolves the differences. The Senate budget has good news and bad news.Good NewsRevenues have increased more than expenses for the first time in seven years, offering opportunities to address unmet needs. The Senate Budget makes significant investments in education including an additional $80 million for Fairfax County, $32 million for Prince William County and $22 million for Stafford County over last year’s appropriations including $16 million for a program called “Cost to Compete” which is supplemental funding for high-cost areas like Northern Virginia to pay teachers and support staff. The plan also includes a two-percent salary increase for all elementary-secondary school teachers.