Happy St. Patrick's Day!
The 2016 General Assembly adjourned sine die Friday, completing its work ahead of schedule for the second year in a row. The early adjournment saved taxpayers over $25,000.
This year, we worked tirelessly to strengthen Virginia's economy to help middle class families, improve our education system so all children have the opportunity to succeed, and chart a responsible fiscal course for the future. We continue to offer a positive governing vision for our Commonwealth.
To help strengthen Virginia's economy, the House of Delegates passed legislation to protect Virginia workers from union bosses, rolled back the federal accelerated sales tax on 90 percent of Virginia businesses, and resist President Obama's job killing and unconstitutional EPA regulations.
Improving our education system is a top priority for the House of Delegates. The House passed legislation to create Education Savings Accounts for parents. This legislation, combined with our investments in public schools, will help make sure all children have the opportunity to succeed
The General Assembly also reached a bipartisan agreement to restore concealed carry reciprocity following Attorney General Herring's announcement to rescind those agreements. The major bipartisan agreement restores and expand concealed carry reciprocity to every state in the nation with a concealed carry law. I am proud of our work to secure the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders.
One of the most important tasks of the General Assembly is crafting the two year state budget. I am happy to report that the House of Delegates passed a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget that invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources.
Here are the highlights of the 2016-2018 state budget:
The budget does not contain any tax or fee increases on hardworking Virginians.
We are taking a number of steps to set Virginia on a responsible fiscal course - eliminating state liabilities, reducing borrowing and making one-time investments rather than committing to long-term spending.
We are investing over $900 million in new funding for K-12, significantly more than Governor McAuliffe proposed. Our funding also gives local school divisions added flexibility.
We are providing over $114 million in new funding for higher education to hold down tuition costs for Virginia families.
We are making strategic investments in economic development, but adding additional oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax that Governor McAuliffe proposed. Instead, we continue to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net.
Of Local Interest:
- Halifax County had two economic development announcements this week. Slick Rock Lumber in Nathalie, and Springfield Distillery in Halifax, each received grants through the new Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). I'm proud to have new jobs and opportunities for our area.
- Funding of $225,000 per year for the Uninsured Medical Catastrophe Fund, started through the efforts of Ken Woodley, former editor of the Farmville Herald, and the late Sarah Terry of Farmville, is included in the new two year budget.
- Last week I only had one visitor from the district - Takein Cooper from Farmville. I am now back in the Halifax office and invite anyone to stop by for a visit anytime you are in the area.
Quote of the Day:
"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." George S. Patton