2022 Session Update: What’s in the Budget?
Friday, February 25th, 2022
On Sunday, each body of the General Assembly reported its budget. As expected, we have good news and bad news around which of our priorities received funding.
While we’re disappointed some of our priorities didn’t make it into the budgets, we’re hopeful about the items that have been included, and we’ll continue bringing up the issues that weren’t addressed this year in future legislative sessions. To keep perspective: It took five years to get Medicaid expansion passed. If we continue working together to push for change, it will happen eventually.
Below, a summary of where our priorities stand in the Senate and House budgets:
- A refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) made it into the Senate budget, but the Governor and House of Delegates opted to replace it with an increase in the standard deduction for all taxpayers, which leaves out many of the families a refundable state EITC would benefit. VPLC has been working on this with the Commonwealth Institute for several years. It could help over 300,000 Virginia families put more of what they earn back in their pockets. (Learn more here.)
- A study on how Virginia public universities collect debts owed by former students was included in the House budget.
- Nursing home staffing standards was included in the Senate budget.
- Ombudsman funding increase was included in the Senate budget. It would increase the Ombudsman by 12 staff members.
- ALF appeals funding was included in the Senate budget. It fully funds SB 40, which would protect vulnerable Virginians from arbitrary eviction from assisted living facilities that can lead to hospitalization and homelessness.
- JLARC-recommended guardianship changes from SB 514 were included in the Senate budget.
- Additional public guardianship slots, staff, and unmet needs study remain from the Governor’s budget, JLARC recommendations.
- Pilot Parent Representation Centers did not make it into either budget. Sen. Edwards’ SB 396 passed (with its funding) in the Senate, and it includes a work group to make recommendations about parent legal representation. But because there’s no House companion and thus no funding in the House, it will likely die in House Appropriations.
- Relative foster appeals was funded in the Senate only.
- Updated compliant Child Welfare Information System is in both budgets.
- Two additional positions for Children’s Ombudsman office are funded in both budgets.
- Fidelity monitoring and evaluation of evidence‐based prevention services are funded in both budgets.
- iFoster Portal was funded in the House only.
- Temporary housing assistance for foster youth exiting care was funded in the House only.
- State-Funded Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program was funded in the Senate only.
- Great Expectations expansion for foster youth attending college was funded in the Senate only.
- Streamlined Medicaid enrollment for SSI recipients was not included in either budget.
- Additional marketing and outreach funding for the Virginia Health Benefits Exchange was not included in either budget.
- The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was included in the Senate budget with full funding. This includes an additional $190 million in general funds over the biennium and funding to create 15 new positions to support homeless reduction efforts and construction of new affordable housing in the Commonwealth. The proposed increases bring the total appropriation to $300 million over the biennium, more than doubling the current size of the program.
- Restorative Homeownership Program (R-HOME) did not make it into either budget.
- The Virginia Housing Stability Fund (housing voucher program) has only the language directing the establishment of the fund included in the Senate budget, but no funding. The language at least allows stakeholders to work out the parameters for the program, but without funding in the second year, it won’t get off the ground.
- Language access was included in both budgets. In the House budget, $6.1 million was included to provide some funds to state agencies to facilitate and improve language access, while $11.9 million was included in the Senate budget to provide funding via an Interagency Language Access Working Group.
- Increase in TANF cash assistance by 10% was included in the Senate budget.
- Subsidizing the reduced school meal plan was included in both the House and Senate budgets.
To learn more, check out this helpful budget summary from the Commonwealth Institute.
Thanks, as always, for your support. We’re grateful to have you with us as we create a just Commonwealth together.
Executive Director, VPLC