On Wednesday, December 16, Governor Ralph Northam presented his proposed amendments to the 2020–2022 biennial budget to the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly. The Governor’s proposed budget provides funding for Virginia’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses the Commonwealth’s economic recovery.
The Governor’s budget delivers on one of NFIB’s top priorities – conforming Virginia’s tax policy to the Federal tax changes to ensure a business’ PPP (paycheck protection program) forgiveness loan is not taxable as income.
In his remarks, Governor Northam stated while Virginia’s revenues did not take as great a hit from the pandemic as they expected early in the year, Virginia did see a slowing economy and it’s expected to continue. In light of current conditions, the Governor is expecting more revenue over the coming 18 months than was predicted in August. His team of economic advisors now estimate $1.2 billion in additional revenue in this biennium. While Virginia’s revenues are exceeding official forecasts, even during a pandemic, this is in sharp contrast to other states.
According to the Governor, these additional revenues will help Virginia prepare for recovery which includes a healthy reserve fund. The Governor announced his is allocating $650 million to Virginia’s reserves.
Here are some highlights of the Governor’s budget amendments:
Vaccines & Response: The budget includes $240 million for public health pandemic response, including $90 million to support Virginia’s vaccination deployment.
Workforce: The Governor’s budget includes $36 million in FY2022 for the G3 Program to get free or low-cost job skills training in high-need fields through Virginia’s community college system.
Internet Accessibility: The budget invests an additional $15 million in the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) in FY2022, matching the $50 million that is maintained in FY2021 to bring the Commonwealth’s broadband funding to $50 million annually, a historic high.
Evictions: The budget invests an additional $25 million in Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund in FY2022 to help local and regional efforts to craft housing affordability solutions, matching the $55 million that is maintained in FY2021 to bring Virginia’s HTF to its highest level ever of $55 million annually.
The budget also includes $15.7 million in FY21 for the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, and $1.5 million in FY2022 to fund additional housing attorneys at the Virginia State Bar.
Virginia’s Public Workforce: The Governor’s budget includes $98 million for a one-time bonus for state employees