(STL.News) – Today, Governor Ralph Northam sent the following letter to General Assembly Budget conferees outlining his priorities as lawmakers negotiate the state budget.
“For the first time in recent memory, both chambers have produced budgets that are philosophically and programmatically consistent with the introduced budget,” Governor Northam wrote. “Both the House and the Senate budgets retain the proposals I introduced, and I thank you for advancing our shared priorities. The two budgets naturally take different approaches to carrying out these priorities, so I write to ask you to revisit a limited number of issues as the conference committee begins its review.”
In the letter, Governor Northam urged conferees to be mindful of structural balance in the state’s finances, the need to invest in people and programs that have been underfunded in the past, and the positive effects of creating opportunity and supporting programs that maintain Virginia’s economic strength. The Governor specifically asked conferees to consider investments in education, from early childhood to higher education; support for previously underfunded African American historic and cultural sites; investments in clean water and affordable housing; and reconsideration of a reinsurance program to promote affordable health care.