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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
March 2009

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is wonderful to be home.  With the session now over, the routine of heading off to an early morning subcommittee meeting has given way to getting the kids ready for school and heading to work.

As you may know, Virginia was the first state to pass a budget using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Although the budget passed by a wide margin, it was a bittersweet moment for many of us.  Unlike the federal government, Virginia's constitution requires a balanced budget - something I am very proud of.  It forces us to make tough decisions, but it makes us stronger in the long term.  It is enormously frustrating that we didn't take advantage of good economic times to balance the federal budget and create a rainy-day fund like we have here in Virginia.  Today, our federal debt is more than $10.9 trillion.  However, the stimulus package also saved Virginia from having to cut an additional 7,100 jobs.  Given that all taxpayers will eventually have to repay our national debt, to decline our share of the stimulus package would have been a disservice to Virginians.

Virginia will eventually receive more than $4.8 billion in stimulus money - about a third of which was used to balance our current state budget.  So where will the money go?  How will it affect our community?  Although I cannot do the topic justice in just a few paragraphs, I wanted to provide a snapshot of the major points.

It is worth noting that the budget approved by the General Assembly still includes $2.8 billion in spending cuts.  And, keeping true to our Virginia tradition of fiscal conservatism, the budget also includes a $160 million reserve - just in case.  Going into session, Virginia faced a $2.9 billion revenue shortfall.  Based on those figures, Governor Kaine introduced his proposed amendments to balance the budget, including cuts to education, human services, and corrections - just to name a few.  By mid-February, the picture only got worse with the shortfall increasing to $3.7 billion.  In the end, the stimulus money allowed the General Assembly to prevent even deeper cuts and to restore some of the original cuts proposed by the Governor. 

Here is where the stimulus money went.

  1. First, the stimulus package temporarily increased the federal share of Medicaid costs from 50% to 56%.  Medicaid provides health coverage for eligible low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.  Traditionally, this program has been an equal partnership between the states and the federal government.  This one change freed up $962.5 million in general funds that were then used to restore proposed cuts to Medicaid and other health care services.
  2. Second, the stimulus package included $365 million in funding for both K-12 education and higher education.  This money was primarily used to restore cuts that were proposed to K-12 education to address the original $2.9 billion shortfall.  As a result, Fairfax County will receive $24 million more than expected and the City of Fairfax will receive $7.3 million more.  In addition, $127 million was used to offset some, but not all, of the proposed cuts to higher education.  Approximately $11 million will go to George Mason University.  The result is an overall budget reduction of 7% -- which is still better than the 15% originally anticipated.
  3. Third, the stimulus package included $218 million in the form of a flexible fund account.  Of this amount, $109 million was used to help establish the reserve to protect against future general fund reductions, while the rest will be used for one-time expenses such as higher education buildings, capital outlay planning, and BRAC-related expenses.
  4. Finally, the stimulus package included $23 million for public safety.  This money has been used to restore cuts that would otherwise have been made to local sheriff's offices.  The introduced budget proposed an across-the-board cut of 7%.

Governor Kaine has created a special website where citizens can get information about the prioritization process and the specific projects being funded.  Items not included in Virginia's budget yet because they were announced after adoption include an anticipated $164 million in grants for weatherization and energy-efficiency programs and $818 million for transportation-related projects.  Visit for more details.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.  If you would like me to attend an upcoming meeting or event, please let me know.  I am always delighted to speak with constituents about the issues affecting our community.


David Bulova

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Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 310-6752

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Richmond, VA 23219
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