Area residents will have the chance Friday to address state legislators on budget amendments proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell.
The local public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at the Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University's Prince William Campus. It will be hosted by the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees.
McDonnell announced his proposed changes to the state's two-year spending plan in December. "The budget amendments that I am presenting today reflect the core priorities of government and our administration," he said in a statement at the time.
The amendments include $500 million in savings in the state's two-year, $80 billion budget, according to Reston Patch. McDonnell calls for spending $736 million on teacher raises, funding to state colleges and increases for funding to local governments and teacher salaries.
The proposed budget would also take $48 million from sales tax revenues in the general fund and spend that money on transportation projects.
Those wishing to speak at the public hearing can register beginning at 9 a.m. Each person registered will have up to three minutes to speak.
The governor's proposal was panned by state Democratic leaders, who called for preserving general fund dollars and increasing spending on Medicaid.
Progressive advocacy group Virginia Organizing reached out to its network of supporters this week to speak for more Medicaid spending at the local budget hearings. Board Chairperson Sandra A. Cook said the events help local residents influence what happens in their own communities.
"This is an opportunity for constituents to tell their legislators what they want, in their own districts, at the invitation of the legislators," Cook said.
Virginia Organizing is pressing for Medicaid expansion that provides 100 percent federal funding for the first three years.
"Virginia Organizing believes we can't afford to let over 400,000 Virginians who would qualify for Medicaid under the expansion go without insurance because legislators are playing politics," she said.
Other legislative public hearings will be held Friday in Middletown, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Richmond and Anderson.
Comments will also be accepted in writing to:
- Delegate Lacey E. Putney, P.O.Box 406, General Assembly Building, Richmond, Va. 23218
- Sen. Walter A. Stosch, P.O. Box 396, General Assembly Building, Richmond Va. 23218