The Virginia General Assembly approved a $77 billion, two-year budget Thursday, but the fate of Gov. Tim Kaine’s bond proposal to finance college construction projects awaits a special session on April 23.
Lawmakers must resolve differences over the governor’s $1.6 billion proposal. The Senate wants to issue $2.6 billion of bonds, but the House voted to borrow $1.8 billion, with some Republicans saying the state should not borrow in excess during a possible recession.
Kaine’s education package consists of $1.53 billion of general obligation bonds, with the remaining $126.5 million to be issued by the Virginia College Building Authority. Those bonds will be backed by appropriations and do not require voter approval. They would be issued by the authority because the proceeds are needed sooner than November, the governor’s spokesperson said last month.
During the special session, lawmakers also will revisit how to finance transportation improvements following a Feb. 29 state Supreme Court ruling that found it would be unconstitutional for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to issue $130 million of bonds because only the General Assembly has the authority to levy taxes and fees.
The NTTA had prepared an initial issuance of $102 million but the bond issue has since been canceled.