State budget hammered out, vote will be Thursday

Money budgetBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The state budget has been hammered out and will hopefully pass and allow representatives to close the 2015 General Assembly on time. After working through the weekend, the House and Senate budget negotiators reached an agreement with a vote on Thursday which will allow 48 hours for General Assembly members to review. The budget will posted online Tuesday.

Augusta County representatives were happy:

“The House and Senate worked hard to mitigate the cuts to local governments during the budget shortfall,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman Steve Landes (R-Augusta) and Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta). “We are pleased to announce today that the conference report fully restores $30 million in funding to local governments, provides state-supported local employees with a pay raise and makes a significant investment in the teacher retirement fund, which is very important to local governments. This is a responsible budget that works for local governments.”

House Republicans outlined what was aaccomplished in a press release:

The conference report includes a $129.5 million pre-payment to the state’s rainy-day fund, eliminates $11.7 million in fees proposed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and provides $153.5 million in funding for a comprehensive compensation package for state employees, state police officers, state-supported local employees, teachers and college faculty.

The conference report also restores $30 million in funding to local governments cut by the supplemental budget, includes a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees and deposits $193 million into the teacher retirement fund.

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