Call legislators to restore the $30 million in Aid to Localities (ATL) cuts

February 19, 2015

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Call legislators to restore the $30 million in Aid to Localities (ATL) cuts

ACTION
Please call or email members of the Virginia General Assembly today and urge them to restore the $30 million in Aid to Localities reduction in the state budget.

THE ISSUE
In the FY 2009 – FY 2010 budget cycle, the state included a $100 million reduction ($50 million each year) in aid to localities, on top of other reductions made by the General Assembly and approved by the governor. The reduction in ATLs then rose again in FY 2011 and FY 2012 to $120 million ($60 million per year). These reductions shifted state costs to local taxpayers while artificially increasing the amount of state surplus revenue. Local governments expressed concerns that this $120 million reduction would be carried forward into future biennia, forcing them to either raise taxes or reduce services.

During the FY 2013 – FY 2014 biennium, VACo successfully advocated Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly to restore the $60 million in cuts to local governments. However, in the Governor Terry McAuliffe’s introduced budget for FY 2015-2016, ATLs were reduced to $60 million ($30 million a year) in order to assist the state in absorbing declining revenue projections. The declining revenue projection has recently recovered with Governor McAuliffe announcing in early February an increase of approximately $338 million in state funds.

It’s time again to convince our lawmakers that this is too steep a burden to place on localities, especially with the updated outlook that has given the state more flexibility in general funding..

VACo urges its members to contact their legislators and advocate for full restoration of funding for Aid to Localities.

TALKING POINTS

  • State revenues are recovering. The state’s revised revenue forecast for February indicates a $136 million increase. This increase combined with $338 million in additional revenue that Governor McAuliffe announced February 6, increases the total amount of money available for the two-year budget by $474 million over the spending plan the governor announced in December.
  • The reductions in ATLs will affect essential local services, including law enforcement, jail administration, education, foster care and child protection services, election administration and social services.
  • Counties must balance their budgets during a time that future state assistance is unreliable, federal stimulus dollars are dwindling and real estate assessments are declining.
  • State financial assistance for mandated and high priority programs, including public education, health and human services, public safety and constitutional officers has declined over the last several years and state funding is needed to deliver these core services.

KEY CONTACT
General Assembly Members

VACo Contact: Dean Lynch, CAE

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