Home Mark Obenshain: Budget cheat sheet

Mark Obenshain: Budget cheat sheet


Earlier today, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee met to adopt the preliminary budgets of the respective chambers, setting out their plans for the expenditure of nearly $100 billion over the next two years. There are many votes and negotiations to follow, and the final budget may look decidedly different from either of these two documents on a number of key points, but the money committees’ actions today lay out a road map for the budget process and highlights the key areas of disagreement between the chambers, from Medicaid expansion on down.

The subcommittee reports released by each chamber can be a little overwhelming, so, as in previous years, I wanted to provide you with a “cheat sheet” my office prepared which outlines the basic provisions of each budget side-by-side. A special thank you is due to my legislative director Jared Walczak for working to produce this helpful resource.

This is by no means a list of every budget amendment the two money committees adopted; for that I would refer you to the Senate Finance and House Appropriations subcommittee reports. Instead, this is intended to be a quick guide to the significant features of each chamber’s budget amendments.

Here, it helps to take a moment to clarify what is being amended, as budgets are layers upon layers. This year, the General Assembly will adopt a biennial budget covering Fiscal Years 2015-2016. Back in December, former Governor McDonnell proposed his final budget, introduced as HB 30 and SB 30; this is the baseline from which today’s committee actions work. Today, the House and Senate money committees offered their own amendments to the Governor’s proposal. This “cheat sheet” is designed to show how the House and Senate budgets differ from the Governor’s budget and from each other.

This is an unofficial document—an internal working paper I’ve chosen to share with you. There are still plenty of questions about what the committees adopted today, and some of these numbers could well change. There are limits, moreover, to simplification. At best, this should be considered a quick sketch of major budget actions, not a complete account. If you think you’ve spotted an error or important omission, I hope you’ll let me know so that we can correct it.

With those caveats aside, however, I do think that many of you might be interested in this glimpse at this important step in our budget process. You’ll find the document here—and remember, these are the committee recommendations, not my recommendations!

Mark Obenshain is a Virginia state senator.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.