April 07, 2020
The Governor announced this morning that the Administration has developed a strategy to deal with the unanticipated revenue shortfall and equally unanticipated increase in state expenses due to the pandemic. It is important for several reasons:
- The Governor’s amendments to the Budgets for the rest of this year, and for the next two years (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022) are due to the General Assembly by this Saturday for consideration during the one day Session on April 22nd.
- There was a strong possibility that the Governor would try to remove all new spending from the Biennial Budget simply because that was the fiscally responsible thing to do! That would, of course, have removed several things that we have fought hard for including the Waiver Rate Refresh.
- Instead, the Governor is proposing a temporary “freeze” on all new spending and will add a clause to each item indicating that additional General Assembly action is required before the funds can be spent.
- And he will request to divert planned deposits in the state’s reserves to pay for essential services in the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- We expect that if/when we approach some normalcy, the Governor will ask for a revised revenue forecast and will then request that the General Assembly convene in Special Session.
- At that time, with the new forecast, all parties will be able to rethink the budget and set priorities.
- We are preparing a letter to the Governor today, and will share it when it has been sent.
On other issues:
- Thank you for your response over the weekend to the survey, we plan to repeat it (with the technical glitch fixed) at the end of the month to begin to set a trend line. The remarkable statistic was that 70% expect to have exhausted their resources by the end of June. We continue to hope that the request for Federal relief – the 1135 Waiver and the Appendix K – is processed out of the Governor’s office as soon as possible!
- The FAQs (DBHDS) have been updated and can be found under COVID 19 under “Getting Help” on the DBHDS Website; the DD Waiver Q&A is linked under one of the “Questions.” Among other information is a solution to processing a Service Authorization if you can not reach the Case Manager; another alternative has been provided by VACSB. Here is a list of the “Main” Phone Numbers at each CSB/BHA which is answered during regular business hours. The individual who answers should be able to contact any CSB staff person.