2000 Session

Budget Amendments - HB29 (Governor's Recommendations)

GOVERNOR'S VETO (May 19, 2000)

    When Tultex laid off hundreds of workers in the Martinsville area, everyone wanted to ease the transition from unemployment to new jobs. Clearly some proposed solutions would be so extreme that the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole would be hurt in trying to assist one community. This legislation proposed by the legislators of the Martinsville area is extreme and damaging to Virginia and, therefore, I veto Paragraph X of Item 547 in this bill.

      The saddest aspect of this episode is that in consultation with a number of legislators, I offered an alternative grant program that could have been used for health insurance benefits for the unemployed. With opposition led by the Martinsville area legislators, that reasonable alternative was defeated, leaving only this bad program to address. I address it here.

        This bill creates a health care benefit entitlement, but only for displaced textile workers in the Martinsville area. How can we explain to identical unemployed persons in every other area or industry why Martinsville textile workers get a generous benefit, and they get nothing? How can we explain to other unemployed workers not in the textile industry that they get nothing? To follow this path compels us to enact the same benefit for all unemployed workers statewide, at a cost not of $7 million ($1.5 million in HB 29 and $5.5 million in HB 30), but at a cost of between $274--$364 million per annum. This would lead us, as a community, to a major decision to pay for the health care for all unemployed Virginians, while many other Virginia workers pay for their own health care coverage. In fact, this legislation does not even provide equally for all unemployed textile workers in Virginia--only for those in one single region.

        How, then, do we explain this special benefit, for example, to the people of Southwest Virginia who have struggled for years because of the decline of the coal industry? Or to laid-off truck manufacturing workers who would not be included in this legislation?

        Clearly, every part of Virginia must be treated the same, and that means working to create jobs where health benefits are part of a salary. We cannot simply pass on an obligation to pay for new, expanded unemployment benefits to all other Virginia taxpayers. For this reason over the past five years we have had announcements totaling just under 10,000 new jobs and almost $750 million in new investment for the region. The most recent announcements include Nautica Enterprises, Inc. (375 jobs and $40 million in investment), Nylstar (50 new jobs, 200 jobs preserved, and $44 million in investment) in Henry County, Nationwide Homes (170 jobs and $3 million in investment) in Martinsville, and National Catalog Corporation (875 jobs and $2.5 million in investment) in Martinsville and Henry County. In addition, there are over 50 sites in the region that are currently being considered by prospects. I am confident that our efforts and hard work will produce even more jobs and investment in the future, providing a long-term solution to the area's needs.

        I am disappointed that a real proposal to help unemployed Virginians was defeated, leaving only this shortsighted legislation. One must conclude that the object was to mislead the workers of Martinsville into thinking that their Governor, by his veto, does not care about them. Such a manipulation turns one part of Virginia against another, and leads us down the road to a government obligation to dramatically expand the welfare state. For these reasons, I veto this provision.


      Item 572 ( I, page 276, line 10 )

    I have again vetoed the proposed appropriations of $15,000 for the Ocean View Station Museum, as I did last year. Such information as has come to me indicates that the proposed appropriation is for an entity that is not yet operational. Therefore, at this time there is no justification for state general fund support.


    1. Page 107, enrolled, Item 161, line 50





    2. Page 114, enrolled, Item 161


        all of lines 44 through 54

    3. Page 115, enrolled, Item 161


        all of lines 1 through 15

    4. Page 249, enrolled, Item 546, after line 52


        NN. Employees of the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation shall be treated as state employees for purposes of participation in the Virginia Retirement System, health insurance, and all other employee benefits offered by the Commonwealth to its classified employees. Employees of the Commission and Foundation shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 10 of Title 2.1, Code of Virginia.

    5. Page 256, enrolled, Item 547, after line 24


        all of lines 25 through 56

    6. Page 257, enrolled, Item 547


        all of lines 1 through 57

    7. Page 258, enrolled, Item 547


        all of lines 1 through 8


        X.1. This appropriation includes $1,500,000 the second year from the general fund for the Economic Crisis Recovery Grant Program to provide economic development opportunities and transition assistance to localities with a sustained unemployment rate above 10 percent in two or more consecutive months within one year prior to the effective date of this act, as determined by the Virginia Employment Commission. Out of this appropriation, up to $50,000 shall be used by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for administrative expenses and technical assistance related to this program. Any balance from this appropriation which is unexpended at the close of business on June 30, 2000, shall not revert to the general fund but shall be carried forward and reappropriated.

        2. There is hereby created the Economic Crisis Recovery Grant Program for the purpose for providing grants to localities impacted by significant adverse economic events or crises.

        3. The grant program shall be administered by DHCD in coordination with other affected state and local agencies. The Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources shall insure all available public health resources are fully utilized to insure accessibility of health care for displaced workers.

        4. Eligible localities may apply for grants from the Program by defining eligibility relevant to the economic event that has occurred in a written request submitted to DHCD. The request shall include information about the recipients of grant moneys, the distribution process for grant moneys, and expected outcomes. Such outcomes shall include, but not be limited to, the number of recipients, reduction in unemployment, reduction of dependents on public assistance, and economic development initiatives.

        5. Grants from the Program shall be used to expand services for transition assistance and economic development that include but are not limited to employer recruitment, incentives to attract business prospects, infrastructure development (e.g. industrial site preparation, revitalization of commercial districts, and transportation projects related to site development), and/or transition services (e.g. housing, health care, financial assistance, training, job search skills, and direct support of private local service agencies).

        6. For the purpose of linking services to the affected localities and constituents, DHCD, shall to the extent possible, notify the localities that meet the grant criteria as defined in paragraph X.1.

        7. DHCD shall develop emergency guidelines for the Program as soon as practical upon enactment of this act and which shall not be subject to the Administrative Process Act. The guidelines will establish the administrative requirements and award process for the Program.

        8. The Secretary of Commerce and Trade shall report to the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees on the status of grants awarded on October 1, 2000, and at the end of each quarter thereafter.

        9. The Auditor of Public Accounts or his legally authorized representative may audit the accounts of any localities that receives funding from the Economic Crisis Recovery Grant Program.

    8. Page 277, enrolled, Item 572


        all of lines 25 through 44

    9. Page 288, enrolled, Item C-9, after line 3


        C-9.10. 21st Century College Program (15867) $0 $3,619,000

        Fund Sources: Trust and Agency $0 $1,206,000

        Debt Service $0 $2,413,000

        A. The General Assembly hereby authorizes the following capital project, which may be supported in whole, or in part, through bonds of the Virginia College Building Authority pursuant to § 23-30.24 et seq., Code of Virginia. Bonds issued to finance this project may be sold and issued at the same time with other obligations of the Authority as separate issues or as a combined issue. The project provided for in this Item, with projects authorized under Item C-7.10 of Chapter 924 of the 1997 Virginia Acts of Assembly, may generally be referred to as the 21st Century College Program.


        Virginia Community College System

        Blue Ridge Workforce Training and

        Community Center (16339) $2,413,000 $1,206,000 $3,619,000

        B. Debt Service on the state share portion of the project contained in this Item shall be provided from appropriations to the Treasury Board.

        C. The amount estimated for the Blue Ridge Community College workforce training and community center facility shall be contingent on a match by local or private sources in a ratio of two-thirds state funds to at least one-third local or private funds, as approved by the State Board for Community Colleges.

        D. Prior to the issuance of bonds pursuant to this Item, the plans and specifications for the facilities to be provided shall be approved by the State Board for Community Colleges.

    10. Page 292, enrolled, Item C-36.82, line 13


        Higher Education Operating



        Prior to the initiation of this project and the release of any funds, the University shall certify in writing to the Governor that the increase in admissions fees attributable to this project, approved by the Board of Visitors at its April 1999 meeting, has been rescinded.