Yesterday the General Assembly adjourned sine die, bringing to a close the tumultuous 2019 legislative session. If you've followed my weekly newsletters, you may notice that we adjourned one day later than originally scheduled. The delay was caused by a slightly prolonged budget negotiation process. Our work is now complete, though, and I'm excited to be home again in the district.
2019 Virginia Budget
As constitutionally required, the legislature passed a balanced budget. We did so without raising taxes, and we removed over $1 billion in new spending proposed by Governor Northam and the Democrats. Following are some highlights of this year's budget:
No tax or fee increases.
K-12 Education: we funded a five percent teacher pay raise and included $85.7 million in new funding for K-12 education. This is the fourth teacher pay raise in six years. The budget also makes targeted investments in our "at risk" programs; every student deserves a quality education regardless of their zip code.
School Safety: the budget reflects this priority and includes approximately $12 million in funding for school resource officers, infrastructure, and other initiatives designed to keep our students safe in schools.
Higher Education: I frequently hear from families struggling with the high cost of college tuition. I am pleased that the budget addresses this problem by designating $57 million to freeze tuition at our colleges and universities. Virginia has the nation's best system of higher education, but we must continually strive to ensure our programs remain affordable and accessible.
Life: the budget includes longstanding language that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions.
The 2019 General Assembly Session presented a stark contrast for Virginia. The controversies of the Democratic statewide office holders resulted in chaos and embarrassment for our state. Meanwhile, the Republican-led General Assembly delivered leadership and results on the issues that matter to Virginians.
My colleagues and I were not distracted by the Democratic scandals that rocked the Commonwealth this year. Because all three statewide elected officials appear intent on remaining in office despite bipartisan calls for their resignation, it is critical that the Republican-led General Assembly stands as a check and balance on the Governor and his party.
With session adjourned, I am taking a few days off to get caught up at home (the house still gets dirty while I'm in session!). As always, you can reach my office by email and DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or phone at 757-223-9690. I look forward to seeing you around the district!
Delegate Brenda Pogge
Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate