2009 Key State Legislative Priorities
Governor Kaine presented his budget recommendations to the General Assembly on December 17th. The budget has been crafted to address a $2.9 billion shortfall for FY 09 (July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009) and FY 10 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010). As expected, no area of state government was spared from the reductions. Included in the proposal is, on average, a 15 percent reduction to higher education institutions. VCU’s higher education reduction is $30 million. In addition, reductions in health care funding will also impact the VCU Health System.
The General Assembly will begin the 2009 session on January 14th and is expected to complete its business on February 28th. During the session, legislators will make modifications to the Governor’s budget proposal.
Updates will be provided periodically on this website.
With an appreciation for the current fiscal climate, VCU will continue to work with state decision-makers on budget and policy matters during the legislative session. Some key areas of focus will be:
Base Adequacy Funding. The General Assembly’s base adequacy funding model is used to identify the appropriate state funding level for Virginia’s colleges and universities. The formula takes into consideration a number of factors, including enrollment growth, credit hours, and complexity of programs. Based on the legislative formula, VCU continues to be one of the Commonwealth’s most underfunded institutions. We will work with legislators and budget staff to maintain the current level of funding and, if possible, increase the funding.
Medical Malpractice Liability. Historically, health care provider accountability and patient compensation for medical malpractice have been managed and determined by the tort system. In recent years, the medical malpractice cap has increased in increments to the maximum allowed of $2 million, which took effect on July 1, 2008. During the 2009 General Assembly, VCU will work with the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association to maintain the current cap.
Financial Aid. The Governor’s proposed budget includes a $4.3 million increase in student financial aid. Nearly 70 percent of VCU students utilize some form of financial assistance. Approximately 40 percent of VCU students are the first in their families to attend college. This additional funding is critically important for these students from working families in Virginia to succeed in their academic and professional goals.
Faculty and Staff Compensation. The Governor’s budget proposal delays salary adjustments until at least July 1, 2010. Increased compensation for faculty and staff continues to be a priority. Competitive salaries and benefits are essential to improve morale and retain valuable employees as well as attract high-quality personnel. We will work with the General Assembly to address this important matter.
General Classroom Building. VCU was very successful in 2008 in securing a number of capital construction projects, including $70 million for a new School of Medicine. The current budget climate does not appear to be favorable for the state to authorize additional bond-funded capital construction projects. Should there be a decision to advance a bond bill, VCU will seek the remaining funds necessary for a 102,000 square foot general classroom building on the Monroe Park Campus. Currently, with funding approved in 2008, VCU is in the planning process for this facility.
If you have questions, contact Don Gehring (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Smith (email@example.com). Our office phone number is: 804-828-1235.