Amendments could save Virginia hundreds of millions, put more money into key areas

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by Brian Farrell, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 7:21 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Dozens of people filled a theater at Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach Campus Friday afternoon.

They were there to talk to local lawmakers about amendments to the Commonwealth's biennial budget proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The amendments could save more than half a billion dollars, allowing for an increase in spending in key areas including education.

President of the Virginia Beach Education Association Trenace Riggs is encouraged by some of the Governor's recommendations, including putting $58.8 million towards funding the state portion of a 2-percent pay increase for SOQ-funded teachers and other instructional school personnel.

"We're gonna keep working with him and talking with him and all our other delegates and representatives to put the money in education," said Riggs.

Gov. McDonnell also proposed salary increases for Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys.

"The State of Virginia spends $45 million a year more on the attorneys who defend criminals than they do on the attorneys who prosecute criminals," explained Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Harvey Bryant.

"Retention is a real problem. We have enormous turnover after we invest time and money training them, and we can't blame them. I don't blame a single one of these young men and women who go out to make a little more money somewhere else," Bryant said.

A large number of people who signed up to speak expressed their concerns about a lack of funding in the areas of health and human services.

Milosy Moscrop, who found out Thursday her young son, Merritt, is developmentally delayed in some areas, also found out that because of a lack of money he'll have to be put on a waiting-list for services indefinitely.

"It's heartbreaking. I just, I don't even know how to describe it. It's just something that I never thought that this would be what would stop us from moving forward," Moscrop told 13News.

"To us, it doesn't make sense, and it's insulting that it comes down to the dollars and cents when real families are dealing with real issues like our son is," Moscrop said.

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