2014 State Legislative Priorities
VCU will continue to focus much of its attention on fiscal issues during the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session. On December 16, 2013 Governor McDonnell presented his proposed 2014-16 biennial budget, as well as minor amendments to the final six months of the 2012-14 biennial budget. The Governor’s recommendations for higher education provide $183.1 million in new money over the biennium in support of higher education, consistent with the goals of the Governor’s “Top Jobs” legislation (Higher Education Opportunity Act of 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 Proposal and Amendments
Support the Governor’s proposed 2014-16 budget which includes approximately $33.1 million in support of higher education-related entities and programs. The proposed budget also provides additional general fund support to higher education institutions in support of achieving the goals of Virginia’s Top Jobs Act. An increase of $4,232,323 per year is provided in state general funds to support achievement of the goals.
Massey Cancer Center Funding
Support the proposed budget which includes $8.5 million per year to support cancer research at 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 $650,000 per year 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.
Compounding Lab Funding
Support the proposed budget which maintains $500,000 base funding for the School of Pharmacy Compounding Lab. While compounding is a component of the school’s current PharmD curriculum, students, pharmacists, researchers, and ultimately patients will reap the benefits of increased exposure to the art and science of compounding.
Poison Control Center Network
VCU, UVA and the Capitol Region Poison Control Centers are joining together to protect funding of their operations. The Governor's proposed budget reduces funding for poison control centers by $300,000 per year. It also seeks consolidation of three centers into two. 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.
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics
Support the proposed budget provides funding of $219,375 per year to VCU for participation, along with the University of Virginia, Longwood University, and Virginia State University, in the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics (CCALS). CCALS is an extraordinary collaboration between business, government and world-class universities, all focused on a singular mission: transform industry by improving the complex system of technological, mechanical and human factors that enable logistics.
VCU Health System Authority Governance Legislation (HB 355 and SB 341)
Delegate Kirk Cox and Senator Donald McEachin are patrons of the two respective bills which will codify current practice that the president of the university is chairman of board of health system. The legislation also codifies a dispute resolution mechanism if there is disagreement between the two boards regarding the terms and conditions of employment of the CEO of the health system who is also the VP of academic affairs for health sciences.
Support the Governor's budget proposal to increase maintenance reserve funds. Efforts will be made to secure authorization to move Sanger and Raleigh renovations forward.
Medicaid and Funding for the Uninsured
VCUHS will continue efforts to ensure that funding for Medicaid and indigent patients remain adequate. The budget reductions from the 2012-14 biennium for both teaching hospitals (UVA and VCU) that provide indigent care services are continued in FY 2015 at $14,955,944. Prior year inflation reductions for both teaching hospitals will also be continued in FY 2015 at $9,350,040. The leadership of the VCU Health System is closely monitoring these actions and continues to engage Administration officials and legislators in an effort to educate on the full impact of health reform, including Medicaid expansion.
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 for all classified and other full-time employees, and an additional 1 percent raise for faculty at colleges and universities. 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 proposal which includes additional undergraduate financial aid support of $634,000 per year and $245,695 per year for graduate financial aid. More than half VCU students utilize some form of financial assistance while approximately 32 percent of VCU undergraduates 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 which directly affect higher education. Examples include requirements on boards to adopt student athlete discipline policies; caps on out-of-state enrollment; state versions of the Dream Act and other varied issues. If you have questions, contact our office at (804) 828-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that faculty and staff not advocating on behalf of VCU or the VCU Health System should refrain from using University or Health System stationery to express their views. Likewise, faculty and staff are encouraged to adhere to University and Health System policies relating to the use of equipment, including but not limited to social media, email, facsimile, and telephones. In addition, if testimony is given during a faculty or staff member’s normal business hours, he should consider whether it is appropriate to utilize annual leave while away from the workplace. For more information, please read the Faculty and Staff Public Comment Advisory, here.