2012 State Legislative Priorities
VCU will continue to focus much of its attention on fiscal issues during the 2012 Virginia General Assembly session. On December 19, 2011, Governor Bob McDonnell presented his budget recommendations for the 2012-2014 biennium to the General Assembly. His budget plan implements the landmark Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act (“Top Jobs” Act, TJ21), which the General Assembly passed unanimously in 2011. With an appreciation of the current fiscal climate, VCU is committed to ensuring that higher education remains a top state priority. Regarding the VCU Health System, attention will be focused on budget actions that cut provider reimbursement for Medicaid services, and funds for indigent care and community health. Key areas of activity are listed below. Weekly updates will be provided throughout the session on this website.
Governor McDonnell’s Higher Education Budget Proposals
Support the Governor’s 2012-2014 budget proposals that will expand job and educational opportunities in Virginia through a reform-based investment of more than $100 million in the state’s colleges, universities and community colleges each of the next two years. The Governor’s proposal removes a $10.0 million per year budget cut that was planned for colleges and provides an increase of $8,963,004 in each year of the biennium (FY 2013 and FY 2014) in state general funds to support achievement of the goals of the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011. The plan is to increase undergraduate degree attainment by 100,000 over the next 15 years by expanding enrollment for Virginia students and improving graduation and retention rates. In addition, a greater emphasis will be placed on degrees in high-demand, high-income fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care.
Massey Cancer Center Funding and Higher Education Research Initiative
Support the Governor's budget proposal to continue funding of $5.0 million each year of the biennium for the Massey Cancer Center. This money will be used to enhance the statewide clinical trial network and expand research efforts. Massey is seeking to attain the National Cancer Center’s highest ranking as a “Comprehensive Center” and public funding is crucial to this effort. In regards to the Higher Education Research Initiative, support the Governor’s budget appropriation of $1.5 million in each year to support continued cancer research at Massey. This proposal also provides $2.6 million each year to establish a competitive research grant for research efforts identified in VCU’s six-year plan.
Planning Funds for Cabell Library, Sanger Hall Renovations and VTCC
Support the Governor’s budget proposal to allocate planning funds for the construction and renovation of Information Commons and Libraries, Sanger Hall - Phase II, and for Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) on the MCV Campus.
Restoration of Medicaid and Funding for the Uninsured
The Governor’s budget proposal continues the reduction from the 2010-2012 biennium for indigent care services paid to VCU. VCU is seeking restoration of indigent care funding and the inflation factor for Medicaid funding. The leadership of the VCU Medical Center is meeting with Administration officials and continuing to analyze the full impact of these reductions.
Increases in the Number of Full-Time Faculty
From FY 1999 to FY 2010, the number of FT teaching and research faculty and adjuncts per 1,000 students has declined significantly (88.4 to 68.4). In order to achieve FY 2009 ratios, VCU needed an additional 560 FT faculty. Each year, VCU is committed to recruiting 100 teaching and research faculty with the skills and talents to increase quality teaching and learning and high impact research.
Salary Increase for Faculty and Classified Employees
Increased compensation for faculty and staff continues to be a priority. The Governor’s budget proposes a one-time bonus of up to 3.0 percent to all classified employees and other full-time employees (including higher education faculty), who were employed on April 1, 2012 and remain employed until at least November 24, 2012 who “meet certain criteria on their performance evaluations.” The bonus is contingent on statewide discretionary unspent general fund appropriations on June 30, 2012 to meet or exceed twice the general fund cost of the bonus and that each agency returns savings equal to at least the cost of the bonus. The bonus would be paid December 1, 2012. Competitive salaries and benefits are essential to improve morale and retain valuable employees as well as attract high-quality personnel.
Life Sciences Initiative
Support the Governor’s Life Sciences Initiative that allocates $5.0 million in each year to match private sector funding for research focused on cancer, infectious diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and allergies, as well as acquisition of a tissue library and relocation costs for development stage companies locating to the Commonwealth. The funds are to be provided to a non-stock corporation research consortium initially comprised of VCU, UVA, VT, GMU, and EVMS.
Student Financial Aid
Support the Governor’s budget proposal to increase student financial aid by $6.4 million annually. Nearly 70 percent of VCU students utilize some form of financial assistance while 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.
Government Relations staff will monitor countless other anticipated legislative proposals, including VRS, guns on campus, Certificate of Public Need (COPN), healthcare reform and mental health. If you have questions, contact our office at (804) 828-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.