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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia state workers would get a small pay increase under new budget proposals.
Both chambers of the GOP-controlled General Assembly unveiled their respective spending plans Sunday that include varying levels of raises for state employees, public school teachers, state police and college faculty between 1.5 percent and 3 percent, with the Senate proposing higher increases than the House.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe did not include widespread pay increases for state employees in the budget he proposed in December, but has said he supports them.
Virginia's budget situation has brightened in recent months due to higher-than-projected revenues and other factors, giving lawmakers more money to spend in a mid-course correction to the state's biennial budget.
Several lawmakers at Sunday's budget presentations stressed the need for a meaningful pay increase for state workers. Fauquier County Republican Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel said take home pay for state employees has been stagnant since 2007.
"We have to begin to turn this around," she said.
Neither chamber is proposing to give McAuliffe as much money as he wanted to spend attracting companies to relocate or expand in Virginia. Spurring on new economic development and diversifying Virginia's economy away from federal government spending has been McAuliffe's ultimate priority.
But Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate said their budgets would give the governor sufficient funding for those efforts.
"It's still plenty," said Powhatan County Republican Sen. John Watkins.
Lawmakers will now begin working to finalize a budget before the end of the 2015 legislative session. While there remain a number of disagreements between the governor and GOP lawmakers over several issues — including mental health funding and tax credits related to coal production— there are few signs that there will be a protracted fight over the budget as there have been in recent years.
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