Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About this Blog   |   On Twitter   |   Follow us on Facebook   |   RSS Feeds RSS Feed
Posted at 1:17 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Hundreds jam appropriations meeting in search of funding

By Fredrick Kunkle

Hundreds of people jammed the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors auditorium Thursday for one of several regional public meetings of the General Assembly's Senate and House Appropriations committees. Many of the speakers pleaded their case for social services and education, despite knowing that the budgetary outlook remains grim after the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Jennifer Simbulau wept as she stood at the podium when memories flooded back of the brain injury her daughter suffered and the help her child has received since from publicly funded social services. Her daughter, Maya, a 9-year-old live wire in pigtails, was at her side.

"We're fortunate that she has a case manager, but there are other children in similar situations who do not," Simbulau said after the meeting. But Simbulau, a night nurse who lives in Burke, said she also understood that lawmakers will once again find themselves struggling with funding problems when the Virginia General Assembly convenes next week in Richmond.

"It's a hard position, and I'm glad I'm not the one sitting in front of the people speaking," Simbulau said.

Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, presided over Thursday's panel. Also attending were Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) and Dels. James M. Scott (D-Fairfax), Joe T. May (R-Loudoun) and Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington). The meeting was expected to last until late in the day.

Some gave testimony from wheelchairs or with the assistance of aides.

Bruce Neilson spoke on behalf of Social Action Linking Together (SALT), a faith-based organization in the Arlington diocese, to urge the state to index welfare payments to inflation to stop the erosion of buying power for low-income families. Their benefits have not been increased since 1985, Neilson said. He also urged lawmakers to allow Virginia to opt out of a federal ban on providing welfare aid to former convicts convicted of drug crimes and to boost reimbursement rates for child care to low-income families.

Erica Wood of the Northern Virginia Aging Network urged the lawmakers to boost funding for "waivers" that allow eligible people with disabilities to receive services in their homes instead of institutions.

Teresa Champion, 52, a lawyer from Springfield who ceased practicing law to care for her autistic child, asked for support for a measure that would require insurers to cover an intense, specialized form of therapy that can improve an autistic child's ability to cope with the disability. She argued that such measures will save schools and businesses more in the long-term.

Afterward, she noted that Virginia has been ranked as among the top 10 wealthiest states. But it's 48th in social services spending. "It's appalling," she said.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | January 6, 2011; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  Budget, Fairfax County, Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly, General Assembly 2011  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Former top Kaine aide to head D.C. agency
Next: McDonnell: Virginia closely monitoring Maryland incident

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company