2013 State Legislative Priorities
VCU will continue to focus much of its attention on fiscal issues during the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session. On December 17, 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell presented his budget amendments for the 2012-2014 biennium to the General Assembly totaling $31 million in additional funding. The additional funding is to support higher education and to fund grants to make college more affordable. These funding initiatives build off of 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 maintain adequate funding for Medicaid services and indigent care. Key areas of activity are listed below. Weekly updates will be provided throughout the session on this website.
Governor McDonnell’s Higher Education Budget Amendments
Support the Governor’s 2012-2014 budget amendments of $7.8 million in incentive funding which supports public higher education institutions’ efforts to graduate more students, more underrepresented groups, and more STEM-H majors and develop accelerated degree paths, $4.9 million to fund enrollment growth, an extra $3.9 million for base operating support at colleges and universities, and another $1 million for research and other initiatives. The Governor also proposes language under each institution regarding the reallocation of any future funding for higher education.
Massey Cancer Center Funding
Efforts will continue to retain or increase 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.
Parkinson’s Center Funding
Support the Governor’s proposal to allocate $250,000 in FY 2014 for funding to support the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at the University. VCU has the only comprehensive center for Parkinson's and Movement Disorders in Virginia, other than one at McGuire's VA Hospital which is available only to veterans.
Poison Control Center Network
VCU, UVA and the Capitol Region Poison Control Centers are joining together to seek $3 million for funding of their operations. State funding has decreased significantly over the last several years threatening the ability of these centers to provide emergency services to the citizens of the Commonwealth. In Virginia, use of the poison center services likely prevented 33,000 unnecessary ED visits, saving an estimated $36.9 million in unnecessary costs.
Construction Funds for Cabell Library, Sanger Hall Renovations and Detailed Planning Funds for VTCC
Efforts will continue to seek General Assembly approval of funds for the construction and renovation of Information Commons and Libraries, Sanger Hall - Phase II. VCU will also continue to support the efforts of a donor group which is seeking detailed planning funds for the construction of a new Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) on the Children’s Hospital of Richmond’s Brook Road Campus.
Medicaid and Funding for the Uninsured
VCUHS will continue efforts to ensure that funding for Medicaid and indigent patients remain adequate. To that end, VCUHS has submitted a budget amendment which calls for restoration of full cost funding for Medicaid and indigent patients. The budget amendment totals $35.6 million over the biennium. Last year’s calculation error affecting state teaching hospitals was corrected for FY 2013, and the correction for FY14 was included in the Governor's most recent budget amendments. The leadership of the VCU Health System is meeting with Administration officials and legislators in an effort to continue to understand the full impact of health reform, including Medicaid expansion.
Increases in the Number of Full-Time Faculty
Over the last ten years, the number of full-time faculty per 1,000 students has declined (from 88.4 in 1999 to 68.4 in 2010). VCU’s goal is to add sufficient full-time faculty to return to the student:faculty ratio of 1999 - prior to the enrollment increases and funding reductions of the past decade. The University is pursuing a goal of becoming a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high quality educational experiences focused on inquiry, discovery, and innovation in a global environment. Sufficient faculty are necessary to achieve that goal.
Salary Increase for Faculty and Classified Employees
Increased compensation for faculty and staff continues to be a priority. Last year’s budget included a 2 percent salary increase mid-year 2013 for all classified employees and other full-time employees (including higher education faculty), contingent upon revenue performance. Competitive salaries and benefits are essential to improve morale and retain valuable employees as well as attract high-quality personnel.
Student Financial Aid
Support the Governor’s budget amendment of an additional $1.9 million to supplement financial aid 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 email@example.com.