Del. Price's Statement on the Governor's Budget Amendments
June 20, 2022
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - Friday, we gathered for a special session in Richmond to consider the Governor's budget amendments, and something became apparent right away: he just doesn't get it.
Just when we thought the Governor's legislative agenda couldn't have been worse for Virginia residents, his amendments doubled down on his "politics before people" agenda. I voted against the compromise budget as initially introduced, voicing concerns about investments aimed more at shutting down critics than serving Virginians and a lack of transparency.
In just a few weeks' time, the Governor took that imperfect budget and made it worse.
His proposed changes not only reflected bad policy, but they were also clearly targeted at attacking his critics; choices focused not on improving lives but on taking jabs at those who have voiced concern about his Administration's priorities.
Look no further than how communities of color were treated in the budget.
Money set aside to support Virginia's DREAMers was instead moved to fund HBCUs. This decision intentionally tries to place communities of color at odds with each other without helping either. And unfortunately, some fell for this move straight out of the Jim Crow playbook.
This was a totally unnecessary choice because, with historic revenues, we had enough to fund both. It's a cynical move and just one more example of the vindictive thinking at the heart of these disastrous amendments.
The Governor clearly doesn't get it, but House Democrats do. That's why we stood up to protect life-saving reproductive healthcare the Governor tried to strip away. And that’s why we fought against the Governor’s hyperpartisan agenda so we could better fund our schools and protect our communities from gun violence.
It's clear that the Governor is perfectly comfortable using the budget to legislate; embedding failed policies in state spending that he couldn't get passed through the General Assembly.
Why else delay criminal justice reforms? Why try to sneak in provisions to defund public schools for unvetted, private pet projects? Why seek to silence free speech by making it harder to protest? Why seek to put even more money in the pockets of oil industry executives instead of everyday Virginians?
I’ll tell you why. Because the name of the game here isn't to serve the people; it's to settle scores. It isn't to do right by the residents of Virginia, it's to do right by the hosts of Fox News.
The people of the Commonwealth deserve a budget that reflects their values, and that's exactly what House Democrats were fighting for this whole session. And while we stood firm in those values, the politics let the people down as efforts to undermine public education succeeded. And the General Assembly broke a promise to 500 families with incarcerated loved ones who had been told they would be going home next month.
We can’t continue to let politics win over helping people We have so much more to do, and we have to stay ever ready for their next push to further harm those in need while increasing the wealth of those in power.
I refuse to be quiet. Let's keep making noise together.