By Delegate Rob Bloxom

Hi, this is Rob Bloxom. In this week’s Capitol report I will focus on the appropriations that are for the Eastern Shore. Some of these were included in Governor Northam’s outgoing budget. If the Senate and the House do not remove an item from the budget or amend the item,it will be included in the final budget. If the Senate or the House changes anything about the appropriation, whether it is the amount, the recipient, or just the timeline of the appropriation through that item,it will become an item of negotiation between the Senate and the House in the conference committee. The conference committee consists of six delegates and eight senators. This group negotiates the final wording and amount of any appropriation.

I will begin with what were results of Governor Northam’s proposals which were not amended. I was grateful he showed preference to the Eastern Shore in his outgoing budget. The Eastern Shore Library and Heritage Center received  $350,000.This brings the state support for this project to a total of almost 2 million dollars. This will hopefully finalize the project with a projected opening of September 2022. The Chincoteague inlet study had an appropriation of 1.5 million dollars which also remained in the budget. I am hoping that there will be a matching amount needed from the Army Corps of Engineering dredge project for the Chincoteague Inlet.

There are two appropriations which were included in the Governor’s budget that are a product of the Manufacturing, Employment, Incentive “MEI” Commission. The Rocket Lab project will receive a 15 million dollar payout if employment numbers and salary projections are met. This is in addition to the 20 million dollar for Rocket Lab expansions and improvements to the launch capacity on Wallops Island. Both of these items were suggestions of the MEI Commission on which I serve and both were approved without any dissenting votes.

The Speaker has called us to reconvene for Special Session Friday, June 17th at noon to discuss Governor Youngkin’s amendments. In the next budget update, I will focus on items we had to negotiate that were included in the final budget from this conference committee. As always, I welcome you to contact me with any questions or concerns at my district office at (757)824-3456, my Richmond office at (804)698-1000 or email me at delrbloxom@house.virginia.gov

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