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Senate action further delays local budgets
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Sen. Bill Stanley

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Virginia Senate adjourned one day into the special session that convened Monday specifically to pass a new biennial budget.

"Senate Democrats adjourned the Senate for the next two weeks without the slightest inclination to even present a (budget) bill to negotiate in conference during this time period," said Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Glade Hill). "Local governments that have been clamoring for the new budget to be passed, now must be delayed further."

The Senate and the House of Delegates remain at an impasse over the issue of Medicaid expansion, as well as $2 billion in additional spending included by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his budget proposal.

"As elected officials, it is our business, the people's business, to pass a new budget during this special session, allowing local governments ample time to complete their budgets and to properly fund our police, firefighters, first responders, education systems, transportation, courts, DMV, and other core services of government," Stanley said. "Unfortunately, the governor and Senate Democrats have determined that the state budget will have to take a back seat to expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare."

While the General Assembly has been adjourned for the past two weeks, Stanley said McAuliffe has been "roaming the state" to campaign for Medicaid expansion.

"Worse yet, during our two-week break, the governor added another $2 billion in spending to the Senate and House versions of the budget," he added.

In offering his budget proposal, McAuliffe backed away from an alternative to Medicaid expansion, called Marketplace Virginia, Stanley said. Now, the governor's budget proposal includes full implementation of Medicaid expansion.

"Leading up to his election in November, the governor made it clear that he would not allow a new state budget to be held hostage by a bill instituting Medicaid expansion," Stanley said. "The governor was elected on the basis of approving a clean budget, free of Medicaid expansion language. He should remain true to that promise and not reverse himself on this important issue."

The state's two-year budget should be debated on its own merits, Stanley said. Medicaid expansion is a "stand-alone" issue that requires careful planning and discussion to "determine the best path forward to cover the truly needy here in the commonwealth."

 
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