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COMSTOCK FOR DELEGATE BLOG

RELEASE: House Budget Restores School Funding, Eliminates Tax Increases
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2010
Contact: Ian Gallagher
(804) 698-1034

DelBComstock@house.virginia.gov

House Budget Eliminated $260 Million In Additional Taxes On Fairfax County Taxpayers Proposed In Kaine Budget –
While Lifting the LCI Education Funding Freeze and Providing More Funds For Fairfax County Schools

– $260 Million Proposed Tax on Fairfax County From Kaine Budget Was Eliminated
– Budget Invests $50 Million In Job Creation
– Budget Lifts LCI Freeze Which Would Have Cost Fairfax Schools $60 Million
– House Budget Now Provides 15.4% More Than Kaine Proposed Budget

Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-34th District) released the following statement today about the recent vote in the House of Delegates on the Budget:

"Under a budget plan approved by the House of Delegates last week, Fairfax County will avoid the crushing additional tax burden of $260 Million in additional taxes that Governor Kaine had proposed in his final budget. Instead, the House of Delegates focused on job creation (with $50 million in targeted jobs creating efforts) and funding core services, including a 15.4% increase for Fairfax County schools over the Kaine proposed budget for a total of approximately $500 Million to our schools.

"The House budget reversed the LCI Freeze which would have lost Fairfax County Schools $60 million. Fairfax County also will be able to reduce expenditures made in contributions to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), which frees up an additional $66m in funding for local schools. Fairfax County schools will experience a net increase in available funds of 15.4% compared to the budget proposed by then-Governor Timothy M. Kaine.

"In addition, the overall House budget does not include the 17% statewide income tax hike proposed in the Kaine budget which served as the linchpin of his budget. Kaine's proposed 1% increase in the state income tax would have cost Fairfax County taxpayers approximately $471 million and only been offset by $211 million in car tax relief. Therefore, this would have been a $260 million additional tax on Fairfax County in the midst of a recession. On January 21, the House of Delegates rejected Kaine's proposal for increasing the state income tax. The vote was a unanimous 97 to 0 rejection.

"Virginia's government is experiencing the most serious and sustained state revenue reductions in generations. The reduced fiscal outlook and taxpayer anxieties, brought on by the ongoing recession, have resulted in the Commonwealth having to enact spending cuts so state government lives within its means. States such as Maryland, New York, Michigan and many others, which have continued to raise taxes in a recession, have found themselves in far worse situations with higher unemployment rates, more cutbacks for schools and fewer prospects for job creation. Prior to last year, state funding for public education was held harmless, while funding for other state agencies and services were reduced during earlier rounds of budget cuts. However, while there are cuts state-wide to education, Fairfax County was a net gainer in education funds of 15.4% above the Kaine budget.

"To reduce the effects on public education of scarce tax dollars, the House budget gives local school divisions significantly greater flexibility in allocating the funds provided to them by the state. Under the House plan, portions of direct state aid will be distributed as a block grant and state mandates relaxed, easing the restrictions inherent in the existing Standards of Quality (SOQ). Recognizing that responding to challenging economic times is not aided by a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, the House gives local schools the ability to make the most of available funds, allowing them to determine where best to dedicate available resources.

"We have to reverse the downward spiral that our economy is in. When you look at the increased taxes and burdens coming from Washington, we wanted to do everything we could in the Virginia budget to restore and expand prosperity, not punish it. Unlike Washington where they can print money and spend with abandon, we are obligated to live within our means and prioritize spending on core government services.








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