Tuesday, March 6, 2018

All Eyes on Budget

Committee work has wound down and all surviving bills are on the floor for debate. We are still following House Bill 1125 and Senate Bill 349 which are the teacher licensure bills. They will go to conference and we will see the compromise bill soon. Other than that, all eyes are on budget. As I have reported in this blog, the House and Senate budgets are over $650 million dollars apart. Below is an email that went out today from VEA President, Jim Livingston, about the budget. Please click on the links in his email to take action.

This message is sent to the VEA BOD, Local Presidents, All Virginia School Superintendents, the SVEA BOD, VEA HQ Staff, VEA UniServ Directors and the VEA-R Council.  Please share widely!

I know you have seen the news. The Virginia House of Delegates has expanded Medicaid in its proposed budget. This action lets Virginia draw down nearly $3.5 billion in Federal dollars to expand health care to thousands of Virginians and to cover the costs of other health care programs currently funded by the Commonwealth. That savings can be invested in vital programs like our public schools. The proposed House budget does exactly that. They invest in us!

The Senate, on the other hand, did not expand Medicaid, left the $3.5 billion on the table, and took a cuts approach to the Governor’s introduced budget. These cuts include significant cuts to K-12 including even the meager 2% salary increase at the very end of 2019 as proposed by Governor McAuliffe. 

We need to encourage the budget conferees to expand Medicaid and invest in Virginia. 

You can review the Commonwealth Institute's analysis of the House and Senate budgets here. I urge you to share it with your School Board, Board of Supervisors or City Council, and to everyone who cares about our public schools. This analysis includes a breakdown, by school division, of the state appropriation under each budget proposal. It is important to see what your local impact is with and without Medicaid expansion. 

I also urge you to take action as a cyber lobbyist. We have two different action alerts. One for the House Budget Conferees, and one for the Senate Budget Conferees. Please take action ON BOTH:

1. Click here to tell the Senate to expand Medicaid and invest in Virginia. 
2. Click here to tell the House conferees to stand strong and to fight for investments in our public schools. 

We are running out of time and we need to make our voices heard. Share this information with your local elected officials and contact the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate NOW! We must invest in Virginia and in our public schools!