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33rd District News - Out Comes the Sausage

Week 8 General Assembly Session 2014

“To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.” Otto von Bismarck

 

 

Dear friend,
 

If you’re like me, you like to have the bad news first, so here it is: The Governor is clinging to the hastily spoken campaign promise to buy-in to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion without knowing the cost or addressing where the money will come from.

 

How High Will Governor McAuliffe Raise Taxes?

  • If the governor gets his short term Medicaid bucks (the House will make sure he doesn’t), those bucks will come at a huge long term cost to Virginia. In the long term, it will get ugly…guaranteed higher taxes and deep cuts in core services are inevitable. Buying in to Medicaid means less money for teachers, fire fighters, law enforcement, schools hospitals, you name it. What services is the Governor willing to cut? How high will Governor McAuliffe raise taxes? These questions are entirely unanswered.
  • No one – not even Governor McAuliffe – is ignoring that the Federal Medicaid contribution won’t even come close to paying the cost of expansion, an estimated $1.3 BILLION dollars over just the next 8 years. For now the Governor – and the Senate – are both sticking closely to rhetoric indicating they are willing to force a DC-style government shutdown to get the Medicaid expansion.
‚ÄčThe House is Showing NO Cracks
  • The House has already passed a budget that includes investments in health care, education, transportation, and other usual and essential government services. The Senate and House budgets are almost identical, less that 1% difference, however, the Governor has indicated that’s not enough – The Governor insists that unless the House caves to his extraordinary demand for expansion, he may not sign the budget at all. Unless things change, this will start to be felt as local government agencies are unable to forecast raises and salaries for their employees without solid budget information of their own.

The House is Still Overwhelmingly Unified

 

...in our understanding that it would be irresponsible to expand Medicaid. It already costs too much and is growing too fast to commit to even more spending and growth without any means to pay for it. That’s some good news!

 

Most People Drive Cars… Cars Need Roads!

 

Two extremely important transportation-related budget amendments were included in the final House budget that could help fix our transportation woes and save the Commonwealth millions.

  • One would require all projects being funded by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) to be rated to ensure that the projects that are most cost-effective are funded: Transit projects had been exempt from analysis previously. This closely mirrors the initiative I introduced as legislation to require rating for these same projects.
  • Another amendment prohibits VDOT from spending money on expensive public relations propaganda campaigns- they should provide legal notice where needed, but using transportation funds to influence public opinion does not help our traffic congestion problem. Both these amendments will help further the ultimate goal of ensuring our transportation funds are spent wisely. Right now this language is included in the House budget but NOT the Senate budget, and I have urged the conferees representing the House to stand firm on including this language in the final budget. See the letter here.

 

Please contact the conferees to let them know you oppose rushing Virginia into Medicaid expansion, and that you support responsible transportation funding.

 

House Conferees:

Senate Conferees:

 

 
LAST WEEK AT A GLANCE
 

Jobs and Economic Recovery: the Home Front

  • Research indicates that allowing Sunday hunting (which I co-patroned and now only awaits the Governor’s signature) will bring substantial economic activity to the Commonwealth – creating as many as 3,900 new jobs and resulting in as much as $400 million in increased economic output and wages. I am excited about this!
  • The Virginia Institute for Public Policy estimates that a private instruction credit such as the “Virginia Opportunity Tax Credit” I am working to enact could save the Commonwealth up to $90 million dollars annually, which could be used to reduce taxes or fund any number of initiatives that could make Virginia economically stronger. It would also improve educational choices available to Virginia’s students, reduce public school class sizes – all while saving money!
  • The Legislature is working to pass legislation that would invest in a grant program for community colleges that successfully get students through their instruction and completion of high-demand certifications that will help them get a job. I believe investing in community colleges represent a fundamentally strong way to help our young citizens get good jobs at a low cost to taxpayers
 

    Doing the People’s Business

    • I wrote a letter to the Budget Conferees and am rallying a team encouraging the conferees to approve the budget amendment that will ensure our Northern Virginia transportation monies are spent wisely.
    • Late last week I left a letter with Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne explaining how a $17-a-day round trip is just too much for commuters to handle; I intend to continue to bring this situation before the Governor’s staff until they take ownership of this very real problem.
    • I met with representatives of the Commonwealth Midwives Alliance! Midwifery is near and dear to me; all five of my grandchildren have been delivered with midwives in attendance. I believe these professional, caring folks have a lot to offer the families that see fit to work with them in the birth process, and I hope we can find ways to protect and encourage this practice in Virginia.

    Commonwealth Midwives Alliance - Dawn & Rebecca  

     

    A Look Ahead
     

    While the House wraps up consideration of Senate bills and vice-versa, the budget will also be a major focus for the next week as we wrap up the session.

     

    We will continue to fight for responsible spending and transportation solutions in the coming days.

     

    Action Item - Students' Religious Expression:

     

    This week the House passed SB 236, codifying students' right to religious viewpoint expressionGovernor McAuliffe says he will veto it. Please take a minute or two and contact the Governor to let him know you support SB 236!

     
     
    REMEMBER 
     

    Again, CALL ME! Or visit! If you have any questions, concerns, opinions, or issues you want to discuss with me, don’t hesitate to get in touch… and as always, please pray for safety and wisdom for my team and me, and for all members of our government.

     
    Sincerely, 

     

     

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    CONTACT ME!

     

    Website Contact Form:

    www.votelarock.us/contact

     

    Richmond Office:
    General Assembly Building
    Room 721
    Capitol Square
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    (804) 698-1033
     
    District Office:
    P.O. Box 6
    Hamilton, Virginia 20159
    (540) 751-8364

    Phone: 540-751-8364

    Web: VoteLaRock.us

    Email: info@VoteLaRock.us

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