Budget conferees named; McAuliffe announces revenue increase
This week, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the revised revenue forecast predicts an additional $136 million that may be incorporated into the spending plans for the General Assembly’s budget for the remainder of the biennium. This amount comes on top of $338 million in additional revenue that the governor announced on February 6, and increases the total expected money available by $474 million over the revenue used to balance the budget that the governor had introduced in December.
Budget conferees were named on February 18. They are: Senators Stosch, Colgan, Hanger, Howell, Norment, and Watkins and Delegates Cox, Greason, Jones, Joannou, Landes, and O’Bannon. The goal of the budget conferees is to have the budget finished by midnight on Tuesday, February 24.
Workforce Incentive Bill is Tabled
Yesterday, the members of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee tabled SB 971 (Ruff), which would have established the Community College Workforce Incentive Fund to expand Virginia’s skilled workforce by establishing an incentive of $1,000 for each Virginia student who completes both training and testing for an industry-recognized certification. The estimated cost to implement this legislation was $7.5 million statewide and the approved Senate budget had included $350,000 for this purpose.
Military Credit Legislation Almost to the Finish Line
SB 1335 (Cosgrove) has passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates unanimously, and is headed to the Governor for his signature. HB 2354 (Yancey) passed the House of Delegates on a 99-1 vote and sailed through the Senate unanimously on second reading today. The bills are both priorities of the VCCS and call for the State Board to adopt a uniform policy by December 1, 2015 to award academic credit for priority military service training and credentials. The training must be documented on the student’s military transcript, and recommended for academic credit by a national higher education association.
End of 2015 Session Is In Sight
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Saturday, February 28. Unlike previous sessions of the General Assembly in recent years, it appears that the scheduled adjournment will actually happen on time!
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