Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission Meets in Richmond - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission Meets in Richmond

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Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission meeting Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission meeting

Virginia is moving forward on making sure it fully funds state pension plans - but it's not going to be without playing a game of give-or-take with upcoming budgets.

The financial reports presented Monday reveal that Virginia is recovering and making progress - but we're not where we want to be just yet. And there's no way around it, growth has simply trudged along.

"And I think it's important that we remain committed as some of the policymakers here that we don't dip into this VRS fund as was the practice in the past, but that we keep our commitments to our state employees and to our retirees,” said 32nd District Senator Janet Howell (D).

Richmond lawmakers say that was then, this is now. At the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission meeting Monday the latest number-crunching came out. Virginia is making big strides in restoring payments into the retirement system, but we still have a long way to go.

"Now it will probably take 10, 20 years to get there. But it's moving in the right direction,” said 10th District Senator John Watkins (R).

Reforms put in place by the General Assembly in 2012 mean we are now headed to reach 100 percent compensation of promises by 2020. That's not without straining localities - like Augusta and Albemarle counties - though.

"It's going to be tough times and a tough budget for the state and localities, but I think we'll get through it,” said 25th District Delegate Steve Landes (R).

Other presentations on the financial health of the Virginia, like the Virginia529 College Savings Plan, show more security. The governor and other lawmakers say later this summer, we could learn the forecast for revenue collections could be much darker than we imagined.

"Hopefully the economy will pick up at a quicker pace than it is right now, but we can't assume that, and we've got to base the budgets on the fact that right now, things are flat and performing below what we expected,” said Landes.

The meeting with the potential reforecasting is scheduled to occur in August. The governor will then address both the House and Senate money committees. There are concerns about shriveling collections, and we may need to make more cuts for next year's spending plan.

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