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Democrats point to missed opportunities in House budget

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virginia democratsThe Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 30, which will fund the Virginia government through the end of Fiscal Year 2018.

In the debate, House Democrats pointed out missed opportunities in the budget to build the New Virginia Economy through exclusion of economic development initiatives, lack of Medicaid expansion, attacks on women’s access to health care options, and funding restrictions in necessary public safety initiatives.

“While there is much agreement on the provisions in the House budget, especially in education funding, we must also be mindful of significant missed opportunities that we could have taken in order to continue our efforts to build a New Virginia Economy,” said David J. Toscano, Democratic Leader. “Every year, every month, every day not spent on building that New Virginia Economy is an opportunity lost, whether that be investing in technology and economic development, access to affordable health care, or public safety.”

“From investing in higher education to funding the GO Virginia initiative, there’s a lot to be proud of in the 2016 budget. However, the missed opportunities are glaring,” said Charniele Herring, Democratic Caucus Chair. “We must continue to work toward building the New Virginia Economy. Foregoing key components that can develop our economy and provide access to adequate and affordable health care is not the best way forward.”

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

“Building the New Virginia Economy should be the Number 1 priority in this General Assembly Session. However, several opportunities were missed in the budget to keep Virginia on the cutting-edge of new development and technology,” said Delegate Jeion Ward (92nd – Hampton). “Cutting investments in research and new technologies is a mistake that will undercut economic growth.”

 

MEDICAID EXPANSION

“The biggest missed opportunity of this budget is the decision to not expand Medicaid,”said Delegate Marcus B. Simon (53rd – Falls Church). “Turning away over $3 billion in taxes Virginians have already paid for petty political reasons is inconsistent with our responsibility to do what’s best for Virginia families. Instead, we’re spending our state dollars to pay for Medicaid programs, and eliminating much-needed initiatives that would have been covered by funds available through expansion.”

  • 306 #1h and 306 #11h – Eliminate Medicaid Expansion.
  • 393 #4h – Wastes over $34 million in funding for hospital services for inmates that would have been covered under Medicaid Expansion.
  • 315 #1h – Wastes over $40 million in funding for Community Service Boards that would have been covered under Medicaid Expansion.
  • 388 #1h – Eliminates $4.4 million for mental health resources in probation and parole offices that would have been covered under Medicaid Expansion.
  • 398 #2h – Eliminates $5 million for mental health resources in local and regional jails that would have been covered under Medicaid Expansion.

 

WOMEN’S HEALTH

“A woman needs access to health care options when it comes to deciding what is best for her and her family,” said Delegate Kaye Kory (38th – Fairfax). “This is a missed opportunity to ensure a secure, healthy workforce. Families who are able to plan their pregnancies are more financially stable and able to contribute to the New Virginia Economy.”

  • 295 #1h – Eliminates $9 million in TANF funding for long-acting contraception (LARC) pilot program to educate providers and patients on availability of LARC options.
  • 4-5.04 #2h – Prohibits any state funds from being used for abortion services.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

“Reentering into the community after incarceration is a difficult process, and the Commonwealth has an economic responsibility to reintegrate returning citizens in order to contribute to the New Virginia Economy,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (11th – Roanoke). “Removing funding for programs that help reintegrate them is a missed opportunity to grow our productive workforce.”

  • 424 #1h – Removes funding for the State Police to handle increased workload related to the restoration of rights process.

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