VACo Memorandum: House and Senate release their respective budgets

February 8, 2015

VACo Memorandum

TO: Members, VACo Finance Committee
FROM: Dean A. Lynch, CAE, Deputy Executive Director
SUBJECT: House and Senate release their respective budgets
Copy: VACo Board of Directors, county administrators, county liaisons, VACo staff

The House and Senate released their respective budgets this afternoon. Both budgets amend the Governor’s introduced budget for FY 2014 – 2016. VACo staff has identified several key initiatives that impact county governments. I have highlighted several in this email and a more detailed analysis of the respective budgets will be forthcoming in Capitol Contact.

Local aid to the state
Elimination of the $30 million in this reversion account is and remains a top priority for VACo. The Senate budget eliminates this reversion account in full while the House didn’t address the reversion account. VACo will continue to advocate this elimination be included in the final budget conference report.

Compensation
VACo supports additional compensation for state supported local employees and teachers. The Senate budget provides for an additional 3 percent pay increase for state supported local employees while the House provides for a 2 percent increase. The Senate budget implementation date is set for September 2015 while the House budget implements their increase in August 2015. Both the Senate and the House budgets provide for a 1.5 percent pay increase for teachers and funding for deputy sheriffs serving in lowest position grades. This deputy sheriff funding will allow salaries to be raised above the federal poverty level. Additionally, both the Senate and House budgets eliminate language in the Governor’s budget that would mandate local governments pay for this increase in future years from local funds.

Unfunded teacher liability
VACo has advocated for additional state funding to offset a portion of the unfunded teacher liability. Both the Senate and House budgets provide funding to accelerate payments to VRS and pay down unfunded liability balances. The Senate budget provides $187.2 million and the House budget provides $190 million.

Voting equipment
VACo has advocated for the Governor’s proposal of $1.6 million to reimburse localities for previously purchased voting equipment and $28 million (paid over 3 years) to purchase equipment that conforms to state guidelines. Both of these proposals were eliminated in the Senate and House budgets.

Jail per diems
VACo advocated for an additional $11.3 million for jail per diems in FY 2015. This funding would account for the 4th quarter reimbursement to localities. Both the Senate and House budgets increased funding based on current estimates to $13.8 million for the local reimbursement.

Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
VACo has advocated for additional funding in the stormwater assistance program. This program provides grants that assist local governments comply and manage stormwater programs. The Senate budget increased funding by $10 million while the House provided no additional funding over the introduced budget.

Again, further analysis will be provided as your VACo team learns more in the coming days.

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