RICHMOND, VA, 2 October 2017 – The leaders of the General Assembly’s budget and education committees criticized Democrat Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia Education Association (VEA) for making “outrageously fictional” claims about the future of state education funding if Republican nominee Ed Gillespie were to win the November 7 election.
“Ralph Northam has spent this campaign resting on his resume while attacking Ed Gillespie, the only candidate for Governor with detailed plans to grow our economy and improve education,” declared Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “House Appropriations and Senate Finance are in the process of crafting the Commonwealth’s spending plan for the next biennium. Funding for Virginia’s public schools will be increasing – again. It is irresponsible and blatantly misleading for the Lt. Governor to participate in a news conference claiming otherwise. The VEA knows this, and their ‘analysis’ is pure propaganda, not policy.”
“The claims made by the VEA’s ‘analysis’ are outrageously fictional,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said. “The Lt. Governor’s memory is conveniently short. In January, he was supporting Governor McAuliffe’s proposed budget, which invested $18 million less in our public schools and $20 million less in our colleges and universities than the one crafted and approved by General Assembly Republicans. If the McAuliffe-Northam team had their way, there would have been less funding for education in Virginia. We look forward to working with Ed Gillespie as governor to continue our efforts to responsibly invest in our public schools.”
“The Lt. Governor is promising teacher pay raises and more funding for education, but he has no detailed plan to do either,” noted House Education Committee Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “On tax relief that will grow our economy and our revenues, the only thing Ralph Northam promises is a commission. We don’t need a commission, we need a governor who will lead. As his campaign careens from costly and divisive promises to remove statues to baseless attacks on Ed Gillespie, it is clear that Ralph Northam has no real plan to improve the quality of life for Virginians.”
“House Appropriations and Senate Finance have been examining Virginia’s fiscal situation throughout this year, preparing to craft a budget that significantly increases state funding for public schools,” said Senate Education and Health Committee Chairman Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford). “Our plans, consistent with Ed Gillespie’s, will strengthen our public schools and improve the quality of education in Virginia.”
“As a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, I cannot fully express the extent of my disappointment in the manner in which my fellow Keydet has conducted himself during this campaign,” Senator Norment lamented. “This gross misrepresentation of the future of education spending in Virginia is the latest in a series of campaign positions and statements that directly contradict the facts and – in many cases – Ralph’s own record. With a metamorphosis this pronounced and striking, Virginians would be justified in wondering what other unpleasant surprises a Northam governorship might bring.”