Dogwood Daily: Budget cuts edition
By Matt Blair
February 19, 2020

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up.

But first…

Get your shovels out! Meteorologist say parts of Virginia may receive a couple inches of snow this evening.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. General Assembly trims capital spending budget…— House and Senate committees are proposing significant reductions to Gov. Ralph Northam’s $2.4 billion proposal for new capital in the upcoming two-year budget, with lawmakers saying they are concerned about the state’s debt load. The House budget proposal would cut state capital projects by $460 million, while the Senate would remove $700 million. Currently, the state has a reserve of roughly $2 billion, which Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne says is enough to outlast a moderate economic downturn. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
  2. …and cuts back on Northam’s community college program– A free community college program proposed by Northam is also facing cuts. The governor proposed a $145 million program to offer education for low- and middle-income students seeking degrees in certain high-demand fields. While the General Assembly both kept the program, the House cut $69 million and the Senate trimmed $48 million. The full House and Senate will vote Thursday on their separate versions of the budget. From there, the chambers will negotiate the differences between the two budgets by March 7th. -Richmond Times-Dispatch  
  3. Teachers close to getting bargaining rights— Public school teachers in Virginia could gain collective bargaining rights soon. The legislation making this change has passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate. Virginia is one of only three states in the country that ban collective bargaining in the public sector. Public school teachers in Virginia currently earn an average of $51,994 a year, almost $10,000 below the national average. In addition to teachers, firefighters and police officers would also gain bargaining rights. -The Washington Post 
  4. Creating a “do not sell” list— Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) introduced legislation that would allow individuals to place themselves on a list barring stores from selling them firearms. The legislation is the brainchild of University of Alabama Law School Professor Fredrick Vars, who suffers from bipolar disorder and has been suicidal. While supporters say the measure may help reduce suicides, opponents say they are worried people could be placed on the list for nefarious reasons. The bill passed the Senate on a 22-18 vote. -The Roanoke Times
  5. Amazon already employing hundreds— Amazon says it already has more than 600 employees at its second headquarters in Northern Virginia, and there are 550 job openings still available in Arlington. The company plans on having 5,000 workers by the end of 2023, when the construction on the new headquarters is expected to be completed. The company stands to rake in $550 million from the state if it hits its job targets. -Washington Business Journal
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