Obenshain Statement on Budget Passage

May 13, 2024

RICHMOND, VA – Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R- Rockingham) voted in favor of the next biennium budget during today’s Special Session of the General Assembly.

Senator Obenshain made the following comments regarding the budget bill:

I am thankful that the discussions between budget conferees and the Governor over the past few weeks have been an exercise in collaboration to come up with a proposed budget we considered and passed today. With no new taxes, historic investments in I-81 and funding for other important priorities, this budget is a good thing for Virginia families, and I look forward to its implementation over the next two years.

When the General Assembly sent a budget to Governor Youngkin in March, the Democrat-controlled finance committees proposed significant tax increases on Virginia families to help pay for new spending in the budget. I opposed that budget and after weeks of negotiations, I am happy to report that we passed a final budget with no new tax increases on Virginians.

Further, the General Assembly’s budget sent to Governor Youngkin in November mandated that Virginia be required to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which would unnecessarily raise electric utility rates for every Virginian household. Thankfully, we negotiated this tax through electric rates out of the final version of the budget passed this week.

In addition, not included in the final budget was a Democrat-championed push to increase the minimum wage in Virginia to a level that would have greatly harmed the ability of our businesses, especially small and medium sized companies, to continue growing. Thank you to our budget conferees and Governor Youngkin for standing up for small businesses.   

I am especially pleased that several key funding components were included in the final budget that directly impact the Shenandoah Valley.  First, $3.0 million in the first year of the budget has been appropriated  to repair and upgrade the dam at Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County, which is owned by the Department of Wildlife Resources. This has been a long overdue and much-needed repair for many years now and I’m glad to see that the conferees included this funding in the final budget.

Second, with the impending closure of Augusta Correctional Facility this July, it leaves an adverse financial impact on Town of Craigsville and Augusta County.  This budget keeps the $3.8M funding from the Commonwealth for a bond defeasance for the Town of Craigsville to assist with this closure. This funding will be used towards paying off the loans that the Town of Craigsville has on the water and wastewater infrastructure. Augusta Correctional Center has historically contributed operational funding for the wastewater plant and paid water usage rates to the Town.

Finally, there are additional general funds allocated to Interstate 81.   $70 million has been appropriated for the first year of the budget to support the advancement of projects in the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program. An additional $175 million has been set aside for Interstate 81 paid for by surplus tax revenue from quarter 1 of 2024.

The new budget will be effective July 1, 2024.   A full list of Senator Obenshain’s bills from the 2024 General Assembly session may be found here.

Senator Obenshain represents the Second District in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Bath, Highland, Page, Rockingham, and Augusta (part.) He is a member of the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice; Commerce & Labor; Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources; and the Finance and Appropriations Committee.