Last week my colleagues and I returned to Richmond for the one day Reconvened Session. This day gave us an opportunity to act on the Governor's recommendations to the bills passed during the legislative session. We also voted on the Governor's amendments to the 2011-2012 biennial budget.
There were just under 100 amendments to the budget. I would like to highlight a few that will have a strong impact right here in Virginia Beach. First, we approved $1.8 million to restore funding to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. This hospital provides a critical service to our community. I have heard from many constituents on how this has personally affected their lives. Second, we approved $1.9 million for the Virginia National Guard Commonwealth ChalleNGe Program, which is based right here in Virginia Beach at Camp Pendleton. This program provides an invaluable service by intervening in the lives of at-risk youth by teaching the values, skills, education, and self-discipline needed to produce responsible and productive citizens. I worked hard, along with Delegate Knight, to advocate for the ChalleNGe Program and was very pleased to see the Governor agree with our recommendation. Third, we approved amendments to equalize the state's public employee retirement system to ensure local and state employees are treated the same regarding payment of retirement benefits.
Additionally there were a few approved amendments that give the Governor more tools to help attract jobs and businesses to the Commonwealth. We approved an amendment to restore $6 million to the Governor's Opportunity Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide grants or loans to localities to assist in the creation of new jobs and investment. Earlier this week, the Governor announced that Northrop Grumman chose Virginia as the home of its new corporate headquarters. The move will bring 300 new jobs to the Commonwealth and is a great example of how the Governor's Opportunity Fund is used. Finally, we reinstated a critical tax deduction for Virginia's manufacturers to help foster job growth across the state.
Not only did this past Sunday mark Governor McDonnell's 100th day in office, but it marked my 103rd day of legislative service. Although we are back from Session, things have not slowed down around the district. Our second TeleTown Hall was a huge success with over 2,000 people participating from the comfort of their own home. Once again, we asked a number of survey questions to gauge your position on various issues.
From this survey, we learned that 80% of respondents were pleased in some way with our final budget. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would oppose a tax increase to fund transportation, leaving 46% supportive of an increase. Once again an overwhelming majority, 63% of respondents, felt that no one should be required to purchase health insurance. Lastly, 84% were pleased with my job performance during this year's session. If you did not participate in the survey, I hope that you were pleased as well.
Looking toward next year, my staff and I are beginning to research legislation for the 2011 Session. If you have an idea for a bill please email Ross Grogg (email@example.com) with your suggestion.
I look forward to seeing you and your family around the district. If there is anything my office can ever do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone (757-965-3700) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you support my stance in the Virginia Senate, would you please consider supporting my campaign financially? We need funds to pay off campaign loans and continue running an efficient district office. Click here to make an online donation, and thank you in advance for your generosity.