March 24, 2022 News & Press Releases

With Special Session Date Set, Virginia Democrats Will Work to Protect Generational Investments in Public Education and Health and Behavioral Health Care Infrastructure

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA – Following Governor Youngkin’s announcement of a date for the upcoming special session, Democrats remain committed to fully funding public education and investments in health and behavioral health care infrastructure. As Governor Youngkin and Republicans refuse to compromise on key funding issues for our public schools and health care infrastructure in our communities, Virginia Democrats will work during this special session to ensure the investments from Governor Northam’s and the Senate Democratic budget are protected.  

Senate Democrats this session proposed a comprehensive budget that will invest in Virginia’s public schools, support hard-working teachers and prepare students for good-paying jobs of the future in the energy, health, and education sectors. Through teacher pay raises, additional funding for critical support staff, and investments in early childhood education, Democrats have once again reaffirmed their commitment to the public school system and Virginia’s students. 

Decisive action to correct previous lack of funding for health in the Commonwealth must be taken, and the Senate budget does just that. It addresses the health care employment crisis by investing in education initiatives for nurses and teachers, beginning to rebuild capacity for local Community Service Boards and state behavioral health institutions. Taking care of Virginians starts with making sure their health and wellness allows for productive employees and students.

Senate Democrats continue to work toward a balance between easing the tax burden for everyday Virginians while providing necessary community investment. The future of the Commonwealth’s economy depends on the health, wellness, educational preparedness, and equal opportunity for each and every resident.

This session, Republicans launched attack after attack on Virginia’s public schools, teachers and students. Virginia Republicans have repeatedly threatened to defund public education and their budget is proof of their true intentions. The proposed House budget cuts hundreds of millions in funding for public education, including gutting teacher pay raises by 20% and slashing tens of millions in funding for early childhood education–not to mention several proposals that siphon funds from traditionally underfunded school systems and removing any initiative to promote equity and social justice.

The budget proposed by House Republicans also includes millions of cuts to successful and proven programs like the Virginia Mental Health Access Project–an innovative program that connects children with mental health services. They’ve slashed more than $10 million in funding for permanent supportive housing, a program that provides housing and wraparound services, allowing individuals experiencing mental illness to live in community-based settings.

All the while, Republicans continue to fight for fewer services and resources in our communities–looking after their politically-connected friends instead of their neighbors.

“Republicans’ refusal to support public education, health and behavioral care health infrastructure, and ensure our localities receive the funding they need is dangerous and disappointing,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “We need to invest in our children’s future and these generational investments in health care and public education infrastructure are crucial to the longevity of our Commonwealth. Instead, Governor Youngkin and Virginia Republicans continue to lift themselves up as education and health advocates, but their actions demonstrate just the opposite. Virginia Democrats will work tooth and nail and ensure these important budget issues for our future will be protected.”