House works to hone new budget

Published 10:52 pm Saturday, February 22, 2014

By S. Chris Jones

On Feb. 16, the House and the Senate reported their amendments to House Bill 29, the current biennial budget, and to House Bill 30, the budget for the 2014-2016 biennium.

Serving as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee has allowed me the opportunity to work with committee members, committee staff and colleagues to craft this biennial budget with the best interests of the citizens of our commonwealth in mind.

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Although the state revenues are beginning to grow, the rate of growth is well below historic trends and lower than we have experienced in the past. However, nearly $7 billion in spending has been reduced since 2007 and the commonwealth’s general fund spending has grown at a rate of less than 1 percent.

The responsibility to report a structurally balanced budget is a steadfast commitment of the Appropriations Committee. Members of the House have been deliberating those amendments reported out on Sunday.

Several of those amendments address specific needs within Hampton Roads. Included is language to address the much-needed grade crossing improvements identified in the Suffolk Rail Impact study, as well as language to continue to support the improvements of the I-64 High Rise Bridge.

During the next several weeks, I, along with the other budget conferees, will be working together to finalize a budget to present to the governor.

It is an honor and privilege to represent you, and I appreciate your continued interest in the government of our commonwealth. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate.

S. Chris Jones represents the 76th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates. He is a resident of Suffolk and can be contacted through his website at www.schrisjones.com.