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TMCNet:  Governor McAuliffe Announces Proposed Budget Amendments

[January 21, 2014]

Governor McAuliffe Announces Proposed Budget Amendments

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 20 -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., issued the following news release: Governor Terry McAuliffe announced his proposed amendments to the current budget and the upcoming biennial budget today at a press conference in Richmond.


Those amendments include increased funding for Virginia schools, public safety and other core priorities, while increasing the unappropriated balance in the introduced budget from $50.9 million to $51.1 million.

Governor McAuliffe discussed the amendments earlier Monday morning in meetings with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walter Stosch and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones, who have offered to work with the Governor to incorporate his feedback into the budget legislation.

"These amendments reflect my commitment to growing and diversifying our economy, creating jobs, and improving the services that this Commonwealth offers its residents, such as education, public safety and health care," said Governor McAuliffe. "If included in the final budget, these amendments will increase investments in a number of key areas, all while increasing the amount of money we set aside for future emergencies or declines in revenue." Included in the Governor's proposed amendments to the FY2014 caboose budget bill is an amendment authorizing the Governor to act in the event that the Medicaid Reform Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) fails to decide whether or not to accept federal funding to cover up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians through Medicaid by the end of the current legislative session.

"The MIRC has done good work improving our Medicaid system and making it more cost effective," continued Governor McAuliffe. "The members of the MIRC should be the ones to decide to accept 100% federal funding for the next 3 years so that we can get 400,000 Virginians access to quality care and create as many as 30,000 jobs. But every day we wait costs Virginia taxpayers $5 million dollars and leaves those 400,000 in limbo. That is why I hope the General Assembly will transfer the authority to make this important decision to the Governor in the event that the MIRC does not act by the end of this session. These families have waited long enough." Governor McAuliffe's proposed amendments to House and Senate Bill 29 (FY 2014 Caboose Budget Bill) are summarized below: Amendment 1: Reflect State Corporation Commission general fund recovery Impact: $1,200,000 in additional revenue in FY 2014 Adjusts additions to balance on the front page of the budget bill to reflect the $1.2 million recovery of general fund amounts from federal fund sources originally provided for federal health exchange related activities. In addition, the amendment includes a technical correction to the total projected revenue amount on page two of the bill for FY 2013. A companion amendment in Central Appropriations provides authorization for the $1.2 million reversion.

Amendment 2: Adjust funding to account for miscalculation of school age population Impact: Savings of $1,356,813 in FY 2014 This amendment reduces the appropriation to Direct Aid to meet the amount required by the rebenchmarking of the Standards of Quality.

The Standards of Quality rebenchmarking utilizes school age population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. The Department of Education (DOE) uses revised estimates when calculating the state cost for upcoming fiscal years, but retains the previous estimate for the current fiscal year. In the caboose budget, DOE mistakenly used a revised estimate, which resulted in an appropriation of nearly $1.4 million over the amount required to meet the Standards of Quality.

Amendment 3: Allow Governor to decide on Medicaid Expansion if MIRC fails to act The amendment provides authority to the Governor to make a decision on the Medicaid Expansion, pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act, if the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) fails to make a decision prior to the end of the 2014 regular session.

Amendment 4: Restore portion of Culpeper savings Impact: $1,000,000 from General Fund in FY 2014 Introduced bill included some savings in current fiscal year related to the plan to cease using Culpeper correctional facility to house juveniles.

More recent estimates by the Department of Juvenile Justice indicate that agency will need some of this reduction restored in order to carry out its core functions as it closes Culpeper.

Amendment 5: Provide funding for purchase of vehicles and maintenance of aircraft Impact: $3,044,710 from Nongeneral Fund in FY 2014 This amendment provides additional funding to State Police from uncommitted year-end balances in the Safety Fund for the purchase of patrol vehicles, and maintenance of the Department's aircraft.

Amendment 6: Reimburse General Fund for Federal Health Benefit Exchange Activities Impact: No Fiscal Impact Authorizes the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget to revert $1,200,000 to the general fund, representing the fiscal year 2014 reimbursement from federal funds received by the State Corporation Commission (Commission) for the plan management activities performed by the Commission as part of the Federal Health Benefit Exchange.

Governor McAuliffe's proposed Amendments to House Bill 30, the FY2015-2016 Budget Bill are summarized below: Amendment 1, Increase revenue collections through the use of mobile applications Impact: Increase in revenue $500,000 in FY2015 and $1,500,000 in FY2016 This amendment reflects the enhancement in revenue collections that is expected to result from the planned use of mobile devices and applications by Department of Taxation field collectors and auditors. The cost of implementing this effort was factored into the introduced budget, but the increase in revenue associated was not. The expected gains in revenue are $500,000 in FY 2015 and $1.5 million in FY 2016.

Amendment 2: Accelerate due date for employer withholding Impact: Increase in revenue of $234,000 in FY 2015 and $468,000 2016 Recognizes the additional revenue associated with the acceleration of the employer withholding date from February 28 to January 31. Accelerating the due date will improve the Department of Taxation's ability to detect fraudulent and overstated refunds in a more timely and accurate manner. Language enabling this change was included in introduced budget, however the increase in revenue was not. This acceleration is expected to result in an increase in general fund revenue collections of $234,000 in FY 2015 and $468,000 in FY 2016.

Amendment 3: Provide appropriation to fund unemployment benefits for military spouses Impact: $1,900,000 from Nongeneral Fund in FY2015; $1,800,000 from Nongeneral Fund in FY 2016.

This is a companion amendment to Senate Bill 18, whereby appropriation is established in support of passage of the legislation. The bill provides the nongeneral fund appropriation necessary to address anticipated expenditures associated with the fiscal impact of the bill.

Amendment 4, Double funding for Jobs for Virginia Graduates initiative Impact: $373,776 from General Fund in both FY 2015 and FY 2016 The amendment doubles the state's funding for the Jobs for Virginia Graduates. The introduced budget contains $373,776 each year. The Jobs for Virginia Graduates (JVG) initiative works with at-risk high school students, assisting them with graduation, career planning and transitioning from school to work. JVG currently serves over 1,250 high school students per year. Since 1998, JVG has helped over 10,000 Virginia students graduate and find employment. The program includes a combination of in-school and out-of-school servies provided by a job specialist.

Amendment 5: Adjust funding for miscalculation associated with new retirement rates Impact: $2,315,431 from General Fund in FY 2015; $2,233,331 from General Fund in FY 2016 Provides funding to correct a miscalculation and fully fund the cost of the Standards of Quality. The calculations included in the introduced budget contained an error and did not fund all positions at the new retirement rate, primarily involving additional positions supporting K-3 education.

Amendment 6: Provide partial hold harmless funding for school divisions in FY2015 Impact: $4,630,874 from General Fund in FY 2015 The proposed amendment would increase state funding to the Standards of Quality to provide additional funding to those school divisions which experienced a reduction in state Direct Aid in FY2015 as compared to FY 2014. The amount proposed would cover one-half of each division's reduction.

Amendment 7: Fund FY 2015 partial Cost of Competing Adjustment for support positions Impact: $5,389,054 from General Fund in FY 2015 The Standards of Quality include a Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) for support positions in localities in Northern Virginia. The funding for this adjustment was not included in the introduced 2014-2016 biennial budget. The amount proposed would support half of the COCA amount for Northern Virginia, and would not negatively impact any local school divisions.

Amendment 8: Increase Literary Fund contribution and revenue Impact: $10,000,000 savings to General Fund; $15,000,000 outlay from Nongeneral Fund The introduced budget includes $10 million annually for loans for school construction. The amendment will increase the FY 2015 amount to $25 million. The amendment will also increase the teacher retirement contribution from the Literary Fund by $10 million.

Proceeds from the Literary Fund are used to fund teacher retirement costs, in addition to loans for school construction. Due to an increase in Literary Fund revenues, additional funding is available for these purposes.

Revenues to the Literary Fund include the sale of unclaimed property. The Department of Treasury anticipates that an additional $25 million will be available from the sale of unclaimed property in FY 2015.

Amendment 9: Provide funding to reflect rent plan changes at the seat of government Impact: $214,115 from General Fund and $127,376 from Nongeneral Fund in FY 2015; $443,240 from General Fund, $263,789 from Nongeneral Fund in FY 2016 This amendment restores funding for rent allocation to the Virginia Community College Systems (VCCS) that was eliminated in the introduced budget and also provides additional funding based on the rent rate increases. The Department of General Services had expected the VCCS to relocate from the Monroe Building to privately-leased space beginning in January of FY 2015.

Based on that assumption, the general fund and nongeneral fund appropriation allocated for rent for the VCCS was reduced in FY 2015 and eliminated in FY 2016 in the introduced budget.

However, the VCCS has not identified a new location to relocate to and expects to remain in the Monroe Building.

Amendment 10: Allow Governor to decide on Medicaid expansion if MIRC fails to act Impact: No fiscal impact The amendment provides authority to the Governor to make a decision on the Medicaid Expansion, pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act, if the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) fails to make a decision prior to the end of the 2014 regular session.

Amendment 11, Fund full year of assessments for Medicaid ID/DD waiver recipients Impact: $663,750 from General Fund and $663,750 from Nongeneral Fund in FY2015 This amendment will add an additional six months of funding for the implementation of assessments using the Supports Intensity Scale for individuals receiving Medicaid Intellectual or Developmental Disability Waiver services, or residing in state training centers.

Assessment of service level need is required by current state regulation once every three years. Currently, the assessments are conducted by local case workers at Community Services Boards.

The introduced budget includes half year funding for FY 2015 and full year funding in FY 2016 to contract the service out to a trained assessment provider. This amendment will add funding to the first year to begin the switch to a centralized system of assessing individual needs.

Amendment 12: Plan to replace the adult and child welfare information systems Impact: $850,000 from General Fund and $150,000 from Nongeneral fund in FY2015 This amendment requests funds in FY 2015 to plan the modernization of the adult and child welfare information systems. Funding would be used to hire contractors to look at local processes and find opportunities for business process re-engineering. This will allow for improved operations and data collection when the systems are eventually replaced.

Amendment 13: Provide dues to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Impact: $156,000 per year in FY 2015 and 2016 This amendment restores general fund support for the annual membership dues for the Commonwealth's participation in the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.

Amendment 14: Increase funding for court appointed special advocates Impact: $100,000 per year in FY 2015 and 2016 This amendment restores a portion of a previous budget reduction. Adoption of this amendment along with funding included in the introduced budget would restore approximately half of the previous cut. Over the past year, court appointed special advocate programs reported a backlog of children who were not able to receive services due to a lack of available trained volunteers. This amendment will allow programs to serve more abused or neglected children and reduce waiting lists in localities where they exist.

Amendment 15: Clarify HB599 distribution language Impact: No fiscal impact This language only amendment clarifies the distribution method to be used in disbursing HB599 funding to localities with qualified police departments.

Amendment 16: Provides funding for STARS radio equipment Impact: $240,000 This amendment provides funding in FY15 to allow the Department of Military Affairs to purchase Statewide Agencies Radio System equipment. An analysis of the radio equipment needs of the Department was conducted and the conclusion was that STARS radio equipment best meets their needs to communicate more efficiently with other state agencies during emergencies or natural disasters.

Amendment 17: Increase funding for gasoline for Virginia State Police Impact: $1 million per year in FY 2015 and 2016 In the introduced budget, the department received $900,391 in FY2015 and FY2016, for gasoline purchase costs. The additional general and nongeneral funding is intended to address increasing gasoline cost.

Amendment 18: Adjusts Estimated VITA Charges Impact: Savings of $1,738,07 in FY 2015 and 3,562,457 in FY 2016 This amendment reflects VITA's fiscal year 2014 forecast including the required contractural increases to Northrop Grumman but without any additional projected growth in agency consumption. This action results in savings of $1.7 million the first year and $3.6 million the second year.

Amendment 19: Remove proposed savings strategies for Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Impact: $61,000 in both FY 2015 and FY 2016 This amendment removes two savings strategies proposed for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in the introduced biennial budget, totaling $61,000 in annual savings. These savings strategies, which reduce advertising and enhance operational efficiencies, are inconsistent with the funding needs of the foundation and are contrary to the new funding proposed for the foundation in the FY 2014-16 biennial Budget.

TNS 30FurigayJane-140121-4608336 30FurigayJane (c) 2014 Targeted News Service

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