McDonnell Budget Amendments Up Spending by $211M

The increase includes $736 million in new spending.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Monday a series of amendments to the Virginia State Budget that would increase net spending by more than $200 million.

The amendments find $500 million in savings in the state’s two-year, $80 billion budget. But they propose an additional $736 million in new spending for teacher raises, funding to state colleges and increases in funding to local governments, along with transportation projects and teacher salary.

“The budget amendments that I am presenting today reflect  … the realities of this economy and the looming uncertainty that budget gridlock in Washington and the fiscal cliff are having on our economy,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Yet they look forward to building upon our legacy of conservative and sound budget decisions to lay the groundwork for the future of our great Commonwealth.”

Transportation projects, a particularly hot topic in the months leading up to January’s legislative session, would get $48 million from the state’s general fund sales tax revenues.

But McDonnell’s amendments don’t provide any details on a massive transportation-funding package he announced earlier this month, one that would add $500 million a year for roads by 2018.

On top of the $45 million for localities, McDonnell’s amendments would also provide an extra $50 million for the Commonwealth’s rainy day fund, $30 million for state universities and $14 million to build prisons and combat overcrowding.

The Governor's recommended budget does not include money for Medicaid expansion, but Fredericksburg Physician Christopher Lillis said citizens can still influence the General Assembly to take action.  "The General Assembly will consider Governor McDonnell's budget when it meets in the new year, and it can revise his budget and add it [Medicaid expansion] back in," Lillis said.  More than 400,000 uninsured Virginians would gain health insurance through the expansion, with only minor administrative costs to the state, Lillis said.

To see all of the governor's proposed amendments, click here.

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