As baseball legend Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” While the General Assembly convened last Wednesday to vote on the long-delayed budget (I voted yes), the Governor could still propose amendments or even veto provisions. Today, the Governor signed the Budget Bill (HB6001) as passed by the General Assembly. Meaning that it is truly over, for now.
While the press has covered many of the higher-level items of the budget, I know my constituents enjoy getting into the details! But before I do that, a couple of other items.
House and Senate Page Program
Attention parents! Each year, students from across Virginia become part of the General Assembly family by participating in the Senate and House Page programs. This is a unique opportunity for our future leaders to get a first-hand look at how government works and build friendships that last a lifetime. Applicants must be 13 or 14 years old on the first day of session (second Wednesday of January). Click here for more information and the application process. The deadline is October 16. Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help answer any questions.
I’ve proudly represented the 37th District in the House of Delegates since 2006. As many of you know, the recent redistricting process resulted in new boundaries and district numbers. Most of 37th District is now in the new 11th District.
The new 11th District consists of the City of Fairfax and the current 37th District precincts of University, Villa, Monument, Mosby #1, and Eagle View #1. New precincts include Hunters Branch, Blake, Oakton, Flint Hill #2, Difficult Run, Oaktree Crossing, Penderbrook, Island Pond, and Centrepoint. I am thrilled to be running for re-election in the new 11th District and look forward to meeting my new constituents. I am, however, very sorry to lose my Centreville precincts and areas south of Braddock Road, including Middleridge, Country Club View, and Fairfax Club Estates. Should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected, please consider yourselves honorary constituents.
Visit Who’s My Legislator to find out how redistricting affected your community.
The primary disagreement between the House and Senate (and Governor) revolved around tax policy. The final budget includes:
In terms of expenditures, the adopted budget takes a cautious view of the fiscal environment and assumes that revenue growth will likely slow. As a result, the focus is on one-time initiatives over increasing ongoing programs or creating new programs. Approximately $3.5B is directed toward non-recurring activities while $1.1 billion goes toward ongoing programs. I think this is a prudent approach.
Click here for a useful document by the Commonwealth Institute that compares the final budget to proposed budgets by the Governor, House, and Senate. You can also download a presentation by the House Appropriations staff that provides a great overview by policy area.
Summer Homework – Legislative Commissions
Although we are a part-time legislature, General Assembly members are appointed to various commissions that meet throughout the year. This allows us to focus on specific issues and develop recommendations for action outside of the pressure of the regular session.
Here are a few highlights of the commissions on which I serve: