On Sunday afternoon, the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia released their proposed budget packages in response to the Governor’s proposal. In the coming weeks, these proposals will be used to formulate the final budget for the Commonwealth of Virginia for the next two years.
Below is a summary of the priority budget items for the James River Association.
Urban Water Quality Initiatives
Virginia has made significant investments in water quality over the last two decades resulting in major pollution reductions and improvements to local water quality. But urban stormwater is the only pollution source that is still growing. In order to stop this upward trend, it is important for Virginia to make investments in the critical water quality need. The Senate included $20 million which is a step in the right direction.
SUPPORT $20 million in bonds for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
Protecting Virginia’s Vital Lands
Did you know that investments in land conservation, such as state parks and other open spaces, provide significant economic benefits to communities in Virginia? These benefits include increased opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism, attraction and retention of businesses and skilled workers, improved water quality, enhanced property values, reduced costs of community services, and support for the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries. The House of Delegates included $39 million for land conservation. We need to protect this investment.
SUPPORT $39 million for Land Conservation
Keeping Virginia’s Farms Clean Water Friendly
Agriculture is the largest industry in Virginia. It is important to work with members of the agricultural community to reach solutions that help to restore the James River and support local farming operations. Both the House and the Senate included $61.7 million to help Virginia’s farmers – a remarkable investment.
SUPPORT $61.7 million for agricultural management practices
Support Wastewater Upgrades
Much of Virginia’s water quality progress is due to great work done by wastewater treatment plant upgrades. This year, more upgrades are due. We must keep this impactful state/local partnership strong. Both the House and Senate included $59 million in bonds for wastewater improvements across the state.
SUPPORT wastewater bonds totaling $59 million