In addition to the package of budget amendments introduced at VACo’s request (discussed in the January 21 edition of Capitol Contact), VACo supports several amendments that address county priorities, many of which were introduced at the request of partner organizations. Below is a list of items VACo will be working to support during budget discussions.
Assistance with no-excuse absentee voting implementation
Item 86 #12s (Deeds) provides $5 million each year of the biennium to assist localities with needs associated with no-excuse absentee voting. Legislation is moving through the General Assembly to provide for a 45-day no-excuse absentee voting period.
Partial restoration of funding for planning district commissions
Item 114 #3h (McQuinn)/Item 114 #4s (Lucas) provide $294,000 each year of the biennium for partial restoration of funding to planning district commissions that was reduced during the recession.
Elimination of cap on recognition of support positions in the SOQ
Item 145 #16h (Leftwich)/Item 145 #29h (Aird)/Item 145 #15s (McClellan) provide approximately $407 million in each year of the biennium to eliminate the cap on recognition of support positions in the Standards of Quality. VACo has a long-standing position in favor of eliminating the support cap, which places an artificial limitation on the number of support positions the state recognizes; these positions, such as school social workers and IT professionals, play an important role in the operation of a school system.
Aid to local public libraries
Item 247 #1h (Sickles)/Item 247 #2s (Norment) provide $2.75 million in FY 2021 and $5.5 million in FY 2022 in state aid to local public libraries, and state the General Assembly’s intention to achieve full funding of the formula for state aid by FY 2024.
State Support for Community Services Boards (CSBs)
- Item 322 #5h (Bulova)/Item 322 #3s (Boysko) provide $9.3 million per year to restore funding cut in the 2018 Appropriations Act on the expectation that CSBs would be able to replace state General Fund support with Medicaid reimbursements for clients who were newly eligible for Medicaid after expansion. This funding would cover the difference between the $25 million General Fund reduction and expected Medicaid reimbursements.
- Item 322 #3h (Bulova)/Item 322 #5s (Boysko) provide $575,968 in FY 2021 and $3.1 million in FY 2022 for full funding of the outpatient services component of STEP-VA.
- Item 313 #55h (Robinson)/Item 313 #46s (Ruff) provide $3.5 million from the general fund each year (along with a matching amount of Medicaid funds) to increase the early intervention case management rate, which currently does not fully cover the cost of these services.
Item 313 #8h (Sickles)/Item 313 #19s (Barker) and Item 313 #51h (Guzman) provide an additional 2,068 Developmental Disability Waiver program slots over the biennium for individuals on the Priority 1 waiting list.
Foster Care and Child Welfare
- Item 354 #3h (Keam)/Item 354 #10s (Pillion) provide $500,000 each year for a grant program to assist local departments of social services with recruiting and retaining foster families.
- Item 354 #5h (Mullin)/Item 354 #4s (Favola) provide $500,000 each year for a state-funded child welfare stipend program that would assist local departments of social services with recruiting social work students to serve in local departments. The program would be modeled on the federally-funded program but would be more flexible; the federal program (funded through Title IV-E) requires recipients to spend a majority of their time on foster care and adoption, which can be a barrier to participation by small rural departments, as staff in these agencies may divide their time among more service areas.
Item 377 #1h (Bulova) and Item 377 #5h (McQuinn)/Item 377 #5s (Hanger) direct the Department of Environmental Quality to develop an alternative point source implementation approach to the one provided in the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle