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Caroline supervisors urge state budget passage

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday night urging the timely passage of the state budget.

But unlike some other local governments, Caroline took out a section urging the General Assembly to decouple the expansion of Medicaid from budget consideration.

The General Assembly is at an impasse over the state budget. The Senate won’t pass a budget without Medicaid expansion, and the House won’t pass one with it.

At Tuesday night’s meeting in Caroline, the supervisors approved the resolution in a 5–1 vote, with Bowling Green Supervisor Jeff Sili dissenting.

The vote was not without discussion.

County Administrator Charles M. Culley Jr. told the board that he received the resolution from Del. Margaret Ransone, R–Kinsale.

In the resolution, it said: “failure to pass a timely budget will result in uncertainty for the County of Caroline; which received a large portion of its funding as direct aid from the commonwealth.”

The resolution explains why the passage of a state budget is necessary for the county.

But the second-to-last paragraph in the proposed resolution, which was about the Medicaid expansion, was removed.

It said, “Be it resolved further, that the issue of Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act should be decoupled from budget negotiations and considered in a separate legislative session to facilitate prompt passage of a stage budget.”

Floyd Thomas, chairman of the Caroline Board of Supervisors, was at first hesitant to pass the resolution.

“As a person who really enjoys a good fight, I’m not sure this is the fight we’re supposed to be in,” he told fellow supervisors, noting that they are a nonpartisan board.

The board didn’t get involved when the federal government, where most county funds come from, did the same thing, he said.

He suggested striking the paragraph about Medicaid.

However, Sili, who is the head of the county’s Republican committee, disagreed with Thomas.

He said that as a member of the county’s social services board and learning what the county will have to do, and how the Department of Social Services will be affected if Medicaid is expanded, he could not support the expansion.

Port Royal Supervisor Calvin Taylor weighed in, saying that he wanted to approve the resolution and wants the state to pass it’s budget but also did not see the need for the paragraph about Medicaid expansion.

Initially, the vote passed unanimously, but immediately after, Sili changed his vote to “no.”

Madison District Supervisor Wayne Acors also commented after the vote, saying that he is not in support of the Affordable Care Act as it has been implemented, but “doesn’t think it’s appropriate for us to get in a political fight between the governor and General Assembly.”

Similar resolutions were sent by state representatives to other local governing bodies as well.

On March 18, the King George Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an identical resolution to the one Ransone sent to Caroline, but left the paragraph about Medicaid in.

House Speaker Bill Howell, R–Stafford, asked the Stafford Board of Supervisors on March 18 to pass a resolution, which included the paragraph about Medicaid as well. The supervisors unanimously approved it.

Spotsylvania County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on March 25 to approve the resolution with the point about decoupling Medicaid expansion.

House of Delegates Republicans have pointed to such resolutions passed by counties as proof that the Medicaid issue should be removed from budget talks so a state budget can be passed.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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