By Ellen R. Davenport, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations
Editor’s note: Dr. Davenport is tracking legislation important to Virginia’s Community Colleges and offers regular reports from the State Capitol during the General Assembly.
With a little more than two full weeks left in the 2022 General Assembly session, much of the action will move behind closed doors as Virginia lawmakers negotiate the details of their spending plans for the next couple of years. Members of the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate adopted competing budget plans, and the differences will be worked out by senior lawmakers in a conference committee.
The two chambers’ budgets are predicated on different revenue scenarios. The House budget includes adoption of several tax proposals that the Senate has opted to defer, or advance in reduced form, resulting in over $3 billion less in revenue in the House-proposed budget.
Either version of the budget will be positive for VCCS students, faculty and staff since increased funding should be approved to account for tuition moderation and employee compensation increases.
It appears that the VCCS’s nursing capacity initiative will be considered next year as part of a study to address primary care workforce issues and solutions, which will include other public and private two-year and four-year players in the nursing education space. In addition, there may be an opportunity to pursue some limited pilot nursing initiatives, depending on the final budget outcome.
The Senate’s budget includes 60 additional VCCS advisors in each year of the biennium, at $6.2 million each year; the House’s budget contains $3 million each year and half the number of advisors. One major difference is that the Governor’s introduced budget included an additional $38 million to increase capacity for G3 programs; the Senate maintained $24 million of this funding in FY 23, but the House eliminated all of it.
Budget conferees are expected to be announced on March 2, with final approval on or about the final day of the session, March 12.