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Del. Price's Statement on House Budget

Del. Price’s Statement on the House Budget
February 9, 2017
Press Release
Media Contact: Tempestt Boone, 757-266-5935

RICHMOND, VA – Del. Price is pleased to announce that the House Budget (HB1500) that passed today included $200,000 for the Newport News Public Schools’ Summer Program for Arts, Recreation, and Knowledge (SPARK) to help supplement the NNPS funding of the program.  Del. Price submitted and fought for the Budget Amendment for SPARK because she believes it is an integral part of the educational opportunities offered for students in the summer.  “Education is key to the success and safety of our youth. We must continue to support programs that work, especially those programs that prevent achievement gaps over the summer months,” said Del. Price. The Budget also includes funding for the Denbigh Aviation Academy.  Even with the tough year’s budget shortfall and impending cuts, no cuts were made to K-12 education.

Other positive impacts for the Peninsula include raises for Sheriff’s deputies and State Police.  These raises show a commitment to the law enforcement community and will help the Commonwealth retain and attract the best and brightest for the departments.  Additionally, state and state-supported local employees would receive raises in the House Budget.

Though not a dedicated line item, funding was made available for teacher raises at the discretion of the local school division.  Though supportive of the step in the right direction, Del. Price said, “Virginia’s teachers are paid $7200 less than the national average and definitely deserve quality compensation for their hard work. They shape and mold our future by inspiring our youth and providing the tools our students need to succeed. I will continue to work with my colleagues on raising teacher salaries and educational funding in general.  I was proud to vote in favor of HB2332 that demonstrates good faith on the part of the House of Delegates.”

Other items of note include funding for mental and behavioral health initiatives, to include 144 additional Medicaid Family and Individual Support Waiver slots for Virginians who need help the most.  The General Assembly must continue to work to fund more slots as the waiting list grows. Also, $5.2M was included to phase in same-day intake and assessments with local Community Service Boards.  Several million dollars is included to fight addiction crises that face the Commonwealth.  Further, there is funding for Domestic Violence prevention initiatives.

Del. Price notes that the budget is not perfect, “There is money cut from access to women’s healthcare, solar power initiatives, workforce development incentives, overtime pay for home health attendants, and significant cuts to funds for mental health screenings and assessments for inmates in local and regional jails.  Moreover, there is no language allowing for Medicaid Expansion, which basically refuses our own tax dollars from being used for our own citizens. We must continue to work on these areas as we move forward, signifying that women matter, our environment matters, working families matter, and the health and wellbeing of all Virginians matters.”

There are still a few steps remaining before the final budget is approved.  The process can be followed at this website:  http://budget.lis.virginia.gov/

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