The rush for a new state budget

Delegate Nick Rush speaks to Supervisors
Delegate Nick Rush speaks to Supervisors
Delegate Nick Rush speaks to Supervisors

Delegate Nick Rush came before the Floyd County Board of Supervisors this week expecting to talk about the budget impasse in Richmond and the possibility of a government shutdown.

But the resignation of a Democratic Senator from Southwestern Virginia over the weekend shifted the balance of power over to Republicans and he told the board that a new budget agreement is already in place and he expected quick passage when the General Assembly returns Thursday to pass a revised budget that includes nothing of the Medicaid expansion that Gov. Terry McAuliffe wanted.

Republican leaders originally told McAuliffe he might get a special session to consider Medicaid expansion under Obamacare if he doesn’t try to derail the new budget with a veto but the final budget deal passed Thursday night effectively put any serious consideration of such expansion off for at least two years.

The Senate passed the new budget Thursday night and the House followed suit shortly before midnight.  Because of the last-minute nature of the budget, McAuliffe is expected to grumble about it but sign anyway.

The revised budget includes $213.7 million in cuts in higher education, $181.7 million for health and human services and $106.4 million for public elementary and high schools.

Once a state budget is in place, Floyd County’s school board can vote on a final budget and submit it to the Supervisors for approval.  Preliminary information suggests the school system might get about $280,000 in new money from over last year — an amount school officials say is way short of the $2.2 million needed.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse