State budget heads to conference committee

The State Senate voted 35-4 on Monday to pass a revised state budget. The House of Delegates voted 69-23 to block the Senate budget from final passage, but the House did vote later to send the budget to a House-Senate conference committee.

“I am pleased that after a prolonged standoff, the budget is back on track,” Speaker of the House Bill Howell, R-Stafford, said in a statement. “Though the budget still needs to go through the conference process, the House version of the budget provides core government services and funds economic development and education priorities without raising taxes. We are cautiously optimistic that a solid, fiscally-prudent budget will emerge from conference and be voted into law within the next few weeks.”

Democratic leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, urged the budget conferees to take a stand for the bipartisan State Senate budget passed earlier in the week.

“The State Senate crafted a compromise budget that is far superior to the Governor’s proposed budget and the original version approved by the House of Delegates,” Toscano said. “As we said several times on the House floor, this budget would come in due course, and the resulting budget, crafted by Senate Democrats, reflected the priorities of all Virginians. We thought the Senate amendments should pass and the budget should have been sent right to the governor.”

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