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General Assembly Building, Room 807
PO Box 406, Richmond VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1009
Fax: 804-698-6709
Viewpoint Hotline: 800-889-0229

PO Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092
Phone: 540-576-2600
Fax: 804-698-6709

PO Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092
Phone: 540-489-8989

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The Poindexter Report, Week #7, Feb. 20 - 24, 2012
The budget is the single most important bill produced by the General Assembly. I am honored to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, where the budget is produced. After 44 days of concentrated Committee work and with input from all members, the House passed its 2012-2014 Budget on a bipartisan 79-21 vote. Despite public attention focused on a few hot-button issues this Session, the positive impact of the House Republicans' 2012 core focus on economic, public safety, education, government reform, health care, and transportation initiatives has resulted in positive, forward-looking achievements. Negatives come along with positives, so I was most disappointed when the Senate carried over my HJR227 to 2013. My resolution called on the President and Congress to implement-not just talk about--a comprehensive, "all-of-the-above" energy policy to provide more domestic energy sources, create jobs, and assure affordable and reliable energy.

I disagree with some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that raising taxes is the way to solve our state's problems. Raising taxes in this economy is an irresponsible and short-sighted approach that will crush struggling families and burden small businesses. For this reason, I worked closely with my fellow Appropriations Committee members and Governor McDonnell to craft and balance a budget that increases funding to education, transportation, public safety, and health care without raising taxes. I emphasize that this budget is balanced. Virginia, unlike the federal government, has a constitutional requirement to develop and balance a budget. Balancing the budget while also supporting balanced delivery of core state government services is a challenging but rewarding process. We are ever-mindful that our work helps Virginia keep her AAA bond rating while also avoiding the out-of-control spending and borrowing habits that are so prevalent in Washington, D.C.

Our top priority remains helping Virginia businesses create new jobs and opportunities. We extended several tax credits to encourage business investment in Virginia businesses, including the major facilities job tax credits that are tied to job growth and capital investment. We also extended the capital gains tax credit for investments in startup businesses to increase capital for small business job creators. To assist Virginia farmers and expand Virginia's largest industry, we have established an Agriculture and Forestry Development Fund with $2 million in funding to grow our expanding world market. Recognizing that government sometimes helps best by staying out of the way, we removed several proposed fee increases that hinder job creation and we again reduced the unfair Accelerated Sales Tax Collections from retailers.

To improve educational opportunities, the House budget adds $575 million for K-12 public education and nearly $200 million for colleges and universities. The increase for public schools will fund important programs, such as K-3 class size reductions and early reading intervention. It also includes inflation costs. Our $200 million investment in higher education follows up on the "Top Jobs" higher education reform legislation passed with unanimous support in the 2011 General Assembly session. Part of this funding will open an additional 1,700 slots for in-state students at William and Mary, University of Virginia, James Madison University, and Virginia Tech. We have also included funding to help our colleges expand degrees in the high demand employment fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health Care to support 21st Century job growth.

In the area of protecting our families, we have added $14.8 million over the biennium for our sheriff departments. For those brave men and women who have served our country, we have included additional funding in the Department of Veterans Services to increase the number of agents to help speed up the processing of veterans claims. Protecting our families includes ensuring our most vulnerable citizens have the care they need. Our budget restores many proposed cuts to the health safety net, including free health clinics. We also have provided funding for new Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability waivers.

To make our state government more efficient and effective, we have found savings in a number of areas, including $2.8 million in our legislative budget. In total, we were able to reduce agency budgets and return over $32 million to the General Fund over three years. We have also tackled one of the biggest issues impacting future budgets - the Virginia Retirement System's solvency. We have designated $2.2 billion towards paying down the unfunded liability. This investment, coupled with several proposed reforms to the retirement system, represents an important step towards safeguarding the VRS for our current and future employees. Mindful that the growth of the national economy is below expectations, we have taken the prudent step of adding $300 million to increase our Rainy Day Fund to $600 million. Mindful of reduction in state aid to localities since 2008 and the burden placed on school boards for the increase in their VRS contributions, the House budget includes funding to significantly address these issues.

We have worked tirelessly to produce a budget that reflects our core principles and are pleased that eleven Democrats joined House Republicans in supporting the House budget. While we have made significant progress in the budget thus far, there is still much work to be done. In the other chamber Senate Democrats have, unfortunately, decided to obstruct progress on passing a budget simply for their own political purposes. I call on the Senate Democrats to take a page from the House Democrat playbook and work with Republicans to help craft a fiscally responsible budget that makes strategic investments in the core areas of government instead of playing partisan political games.

Among our visitors this week, we were pleased to meet with Victor Williams, Janice Wilkins, Karen Thompson, and Gerald Williams from the Blue Ridge Nursing Center/Landmark Assisted Living Center in Stuart. To arrange a meeting with me, please contact Alex Thorup or Tom Wells, my legislative aides, at (804) 698-1009. You may write to me at P.O. Box 406, Richmond VA 23218 or


“Entrepreneurs and their small business enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States".
Ronald Reagan
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
“Whatever else history says about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way".
Ronald Reagan
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