FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · February 18, 2024

Office of Delegate Luke Torian

Nate Dowdy

nate@delegatetorian.com

House Appropriations Committee Reports Budget for FY25-26

Committee budget contains critical investments in education, health care, and natural resources

RICHMOND, VA – This afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee reported its biennial budget. The House budget includes significant funding for Virginia’s public education system, affordable health care, and public employees, including teachers. The Committee has considered thousands of proposals with fiscal impact since the start of the 2024 General Assembly Session. Today’s reported budget reflects the biennial spending priorities of the Democratic majority in the House. House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian issued the following statement:

“Today, members of the House Appropriations Committee met to report out a budget that is a product of hard and prudent work by our dedicated committee staff. This committee has crafted a fiscally responsible budget that focuses on meeting the needs of our citizens.

We are proposing a 6% raise for state and state-supported local employees and proposing an additional 6.75% increase in pay for our teachers over the biennium. These increases represent the first half of our four-year plan to increase the Virginia average teacher pay to the national average. In addition, we are directing around $1 billion to fully fund re-benchmarking and more than $500 million to provide much-needed support to our most vulnerable students. The budget includes $205 million to limit in-state undergraduate tuition increases and strengthen the degree pipeline to high-demand job fields.

This budget will retain the additional 3,440 DD waiver slots included in the Governor’s proposed budget and increase rates for pay for providers to ensure there is not just an available slot but services for those in need. We are proposing more than $457 million for mental health and substance abuse services. Focusing on crisis care and adding funding to ensure community services are available to provide a continuity of care throughout the process.

We have included significant investments in our natural resources, directing $200 million over the biennium to the Community Flood Prevention Fund to support community-scale flood mitigation projects and including more than $200 million in the Water Quality Improvement Fund. These allocations are conditional on the expected revenue the Commonwealth will receive from the re-entry to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

In the areas of public safety, we have directed $110 million for community violence intervention programming and $34 million to increase funds for court-appointed attorneys and open a new public defender office.

While much has changed, one principle has remained the same: we strived to report a budget that provides for all employees throughout our Commonwealth, ensures college remains accessible and affordable for all, provides strategic investments to address the mental health and opioid crisis in Virginia, continues our commitment to environmental protection, and addresses our construction needs to ensure our facilities are state of the art for the people who use them daily.

This amendment package restores funding to these critical areas with significant investments that will advance the well-being of all Virginians while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget.”

The House of Delegates will vote on the reported budget bill this Thursday, February 22nd.

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