Legislators near budget agreement - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Legislators near budget agreement

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A major step forward in the state budget battle, but a major blow for Medicaid expansion supporters, and state workers hoping for a raise. We have new details on a plan presented Wednesday to close a billion-dollar deficit...a plan that could come to a vote by Thursday.

Legislators recently discovered they're faced with a near $1.5 billion dollar shortfall. That's after officials over-estimated how much money the state would get in income tax...coming to light last month.

Major spending cuts must now be agreed on. The democrat-supported Medicaid Expansion is out of the budget, but could be considered later on. Raises for state employees, as well as extra funding for higher education will likely be tabled.

Republicans say they're trying to keep core spending items intact and that much of the cuts are new spending measures the governor put forward. Democrats are pushing to salvage what they can. 

"A lot of the new spending that was built into the budget, obviously was eliminated. We're trying to keep some essentials... like K-12 re benchmarking," said Delegate Kirk Cox, (R) VA House Majority Leader.

"I had to take a swallow. And I'm just hoping at the end of the day, that it's going to be something we can work with. The reality is, we can't make money that's not there," said Delegate Rosalyn Dance, (D) Petersburg, Chesterfield.

Once the budget is approved, legislators are planning to take about $500 million from the state's rainy day fund - to help fill the remaining budget gap. The budget is slated to go before the state Senate Thursday. Any amendments will then have to be approved by the House.

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