Former House of Delegates Speaker, retired teacher, and candidate for Governor Kirk Cox released the following statement Saturday after voting against the House budget proposal.
“This afternoon I voted against the House budget proposal. As a longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, I know the budget is the most important bill we consider each year, and I appreciate the hard work of the committee and the staff in putting it together.
“There are some good elements of this budget, including a strong commitment to growing our reserve funds, but unfortunately the bad outweighs this good.
“I cannot in good conscience support a budget that does not include language requiring five days a week of in-classroom instruction for our students. Widespread learning loss as a result of extended remote learning is hurting Virginia kids’ mental health and setting them back in their educations. This budget has nothing in place to specifically attack these problems and prevent a lost year from becoming a lost generation.
“The budget also includes revenue increases associated with legislation limiting small business expense deductions related to Paycheck Protection Program loans, taking money away from Virginia businesses following a hard year in which they were asked to shut their doors.
“Lastly, the budget would give $20.5 million for expungement and mandatory minimum repeals. I believe in law and order, and that includes transparency in our criminal justice system, and I cannot support a budget that includes funding for these misguided policies.
“I take great thought and consideration ahead of each vote I take in this General Assembly, and this one was no different. This is a budget I cannot support, and it’s a clear example of why one party Democratic control does not serve Virginia well.”