State Republican-Led House, Senate Work to Make Deal on Budget

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Virginia General Assembly Virginia General Assembly

Lawmakers released their plan for Virginia's next budget. It includes pay raises for state workers and more funding for public schools.

However, some of the governor's vision is left out.

For one thing, the Republican-led House and Senate money committees did not include Medicaid expansion. That's no surprise but it has been a top priority for this governor.

Moving forward though, the governor and the GOP say they're looking forward to compromising to pass a budget on time.

“We also though… I think are trying to make sure the budget is structurally sound and prudent and even though revenues have increased somewhat, there's still some concern,” Delegate Republican of the 25th District Steve Landes, said.

Sunday afternoon, the Republican-majority House and Senate money committees presented their two-year budget recommendations for the Commonwealth. Their budget plan places a heavy emphasis on public education. Both parties support the idea of making sure Virginia is not so reliant on the federal government.

"Although our revenue situation is relatively stable, with modest growth, we want to be postured to respond to the next downturn when it comes,” Republican Senator of the 24th District Emmett Hanger, said.

However, Republicans chose to trim some of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget proposals. The House rejected the governor's suggestion to slightly reduce the corporate income tax rate.

GOP leaders also set aside funding for economic development initiatives put forth by McAuliffe, but it was about $59 million less than what the governor requested.

"We agree that the Commonwealth must explore ways to reinvent our economy in a post-sequestration environment. The budget before you supports significant investment in research, economic development, and job creation through regional collaboration,” Hanger said.

Republicans exceeded the governor's spending plan in other areas, for example, they propose a three percent raise for state workers, while the governor suggested a two percent increase.

“Hopefully, he'll look at what we've done and we can show that we made targeted investments in areas we think would make sense and at the same time, he'll get another shot at it and we'll see what he does,” Landes said.

In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will iron out differences between their two budget plans. The governor will then review a single two-year budget proposal.

The governor's office released a statement late this afternoon saying he's optimistic about how budget negotiations will play out.