On Friday, Dec. 15, Gov. Kaine introduced his amendments to the 2006-2008 biennial budget.

Each December in even-numbered years, the governor proposes amendments for the second year of the biennium. With additional revenues beyond projections, cost savings, and unspent funds totaling $1 billion, the governor chose to fund primarily one-time initiatives versus using the money for ongoing expenses. He recommended about half of the funding for targeted transportation enhancements describing it as a “critical priority.”

Higher education received the second largest allocation of new funds, with $225 million targeted to operating support and capital projects. This included $176 million for new capital projects, equipment, cost overruns for ongoing capital projects and $40 million for operating programs, including base budget adequacy, financial aid, operations and maintenance of new facilities, a three percent faculty increase (staff increases of three percent are already included in the budget for this year), and a few targeted programs.

Virginia Tech will receive increases of $1.9 million in base operating support and almost one million dollars in need-based financial aid. The amendments also provided the state’s share of a three percent salary increase for faculty and staff. (Salary increases are split-funded between state General Fund revenues and non-General Fund revenues, which consists of mostly tuition.) In the capital area, the governor’s amendments include $3.5 million for a new hazardous materials facility, $3 million in equipment for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science facility, and cost overrun funding for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, the Building and Construction Lab, and Cowgill Hall renovations.

The General Assembly session begins its “short” 46 day session on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Funding for base budget adequacy, faculty salaries, financial aid, and capital projects will continue to be priorities for the upcoming session.


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