J. Garren Shipley
February 20, 2022
The House Appropriations Committee voted today to send House Bills 29 and 30 — the biennial budget bills — to the floor for approval. In addition to setting aside the most money for K-12 education in Virginia history, the budget contains $5.3 billion in tax relief for Virginia families, and raises Virginia’s “Rainy Day” Fund to a historic level in anticipation of future economic downturns and emergencies.
The House Budget contains the largest ever investment in our K-12 system. The over $2 billion investment over the biennium will go towards teacher pay raises — two, 4 percent raises plus two, 1 percent bonuses — as well as much needed hires such as reading specialists. In addition, the budget provides resources for $2 billion in school construction loans.
The House Budget makes significant investments in higher education, providing funding to hold tuition increases to no more than 3 percent and substantial tuition assistance for in-state undergraduate students.
The House Budget addresses the needs of Virginians created from two years of uncertainty due to COVID. This budget is structurally crafted and prudently invests in key areas that will grow our economy, improve the lives of Virginians, and protect precious taxpayer dollars.
“First, let me thank Chairman Knight, Vice Chairman Austin, subcommittee chairs, and the rest of the Appropriations Committee for their hard work producing this budget which reflects our shared priorities,” said Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah.
“It puts taxpayers first, doubling the standard deduction and ending the regressive grocery tax. It also funds tax rebates for every Virginian who files an income tax return. It also provides well-deserved raises for law enforcement, an enormous investment in repairing our crumbling schools, as well as a record payment toward future state pension obligations,” Gilbert added. This is a common-sense budget that meets the needs of all Virginians.”
“With a brighter revenue forecast and a clearer path out of the pandemic, this budget continues the work to build a safer and healthier Commonwealth and move us on the trajectory toward stronger economic growth through tax relief, prudent investments, and job creation,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Barry Knight. R-Virginia Beach.
“We approached this budget intent on spending not just because tax revenue was available, but based spending choices on what is needed. As Warren Buffett once said, ‘Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving,'” Knight added. “This budget focuses on ensuring a structurally sound foundation for future growth, providing tax relief, and maximizing our reserves before undertaking new initiatives.”
“Our law enforcement officers have taken a beating in recent years, leading many to leave law enforcement. This budget begins the process of repairing that damage by providing a 4 percent raise for all state employees, state supported local employees, and others,” said Committee Vice Chair Terry Austin, R-Botetourt.
“Starting pay for the Virginia State Police will climb by nearly 8 percent, while correctional officers, deputy sheriffs and regional jail officers starting pay will climb to $42,000, with increases for others to ensure years of service are honored,” Austin added. Our law enforcement officers take care of us, now it’s time for us to take care of them.”
“Education is the first legacy we leave our children. For far too long, we’ve treated school infrastructure as a second-tier need. Meanwhile, students continue to learn in buildings where buckets under leaky roofs are a part of every rainy day,” said House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City. “This budget sets aside resources for $2 billion in loans to help local governments build and repair schools, with a commitment in place for even more funding going forward. Kids couldn’t wait for the mask mandate to end. They won’t have to wait much longer to get their schools fixed, either.”
“When the state government runs a massive surplus, it’s time to return those funds to the taxpayers. Republicans ran on the promise to end the grocery tax, saving families money every time they go to the store,” said House Republican Caucus Chair Amanda Batten, R-James City County. “I’m proud to say this budget includes that tax cut, as well as a doubling of the standard deduction, which will leave more money in paychecks as families deal with skyrocketing inflation. This practical, pragmatic budget will make life better and easier for each and every Virginia family.”
“When this body adjourned for the final time in 2021, we left significant business undone, mainly in the form of defusing the unemployment insurance time bomb set in place by COVID,” said House Republican Whip Michael Webert, R-Fauquier. “Under the House budget, no business will see their unemployment taxes rise – keeping our promise to help every business in Virginia recover from the pandemic. This is a common-sense budget every Virginian can be proud of.”