May 31, 2022
Conference Budget Proposal Makes Notable Investments in Working Families and Public Education, Yet More Work Remains
Today, Ashley C. Kenneth, President and CEO of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) released the following statement on the conference budget proposal following negotiations between the House of Delegates and Senate:
“From the start, Virginia families deserved a budget that helps them make ends meet and invests in the future. This conference proposal makes some notable steps in that direction, including much-needed relief for parents.
“This includes significant improvements to Virginia’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which would provide targeted relief to families living paycheck to paycheck. Strengthening the EITC represents a signature accomplishment that follows more than a decade of work by advocates and lawmakers.
“Other important provisions for people in Virginia with low incomes include increased benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and improved access to dental care for those enrolled in Medicaid.
“In public education, the conference budget proposal calls for providing the state share of a 5% increase in pay each year for teachers and other school staff, plus a $1,000 one-time bonus using federal funds. In addition, the conference proposal includes $1.25 billion for school construction and modernization, increases funding for the At-Risk-Add-On program that helps students in school divisions with high poverty rates, and provides nearly $272 million to increase support staff positions in schools.
“While the conference budget proposal takes some important steps forward, much more work lies ahead to build a prosperous and equitable future for all people in our commonwealth. We can and must do more to make affordable housing a reality in Virginia, meet critical transportation needs in our communities, protect against efforts to divert funding away from public schools, and ensure that all families, including immigrant families, have the opportunity to thrive. Virginia’s policymakers should seize every moment to make progress in these areas, both in the context of this budget and in future legislation.”
While the conference budget proposal takes some important steps forward, much more work lies ahead to build a prosperous and equitable future for all people in our commonwealth. Virginia’s policymakers should seize every moment to make progress in [affordable housing, transportation, funding public schools, and more], both in the context of this budget and in future legislation.Ashley C. Kenneth, President & CEO, the Commonwealth Institute