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Jennifer McClellan: General Assembly session preview

Last month, Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his two-year budget for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. The governor presented the budgets in a speech to the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly, which you can read here.

mcclellanThe governor’s budget triples the Rainy Day Fund, allocates increased funding to public education (including pre-K and higher education), provides new funding for mental health priorities, continues to improve Virginia’s prisoner re-entry program (including streamlining and expediting the state’s restoration of rights process), and directs $11 million to the City of Richmond for the development, creation and enhancement of the Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site.

Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe released the following statement regarding the proposed budget:

“I congratulate Gov. McDonnell for continuing his record of sound financial leadership with this biennial budget. I would also like to thank the governor for the unprecedented information and cooperation he and his team have offered me with respect to this budget and the entire transition process.

“There are many items in this proposed budget that will make Virginia a better place to work, live and do business. Reforming Virginia’s mental health system must be a critical priority of this budget, as well as strengthening the Virginia Retirement System and continuing to invest in higher education.

“My policy team and I are already closely examining this budget and looking forward to finding common ground with leaders from both parties to pass a final product that grows our economy and uses every taxpayer dollar to make Virginians’ lives better.”

The devil, of course, will be in the details of how these investments will be funded, and what amendments the House Appropriations Committee will adopt in the first half of the Session.  I will be carefully examining the governor’s budget and any proposed Amendments over the next few weeks, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

You can read a summary of the proposed budget here.

You can view the complete proposed budget here.

The House Appropriations Committee will host several public hearings across the state on the budget, including one in Richmond onJanuary 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm at the General Assembly Building, House Room D, 201 N. 9th Street.

Jennifer McClellan is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

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