Ever since the 2008 recession (so TWELVE YEARS AGO NOW), Virginia has been underfunding our schools and social safety net programs. Ostensibly, this is because we were in a recession, and legislators were waiting for a sunnier day to fund our schools back to 2008 levels and then some. But that recession has come, gone, and another one has come in its place, with no action. It’s been 12 years!
Legislators need to grow a backbone, close corporate loopholes, and commit to raising revenue so that all of us have access to the services we need to thrive. Read below to find out what we could do if we got serious about fixing our upside-down tax system and making sure people who have done well for themselves here in Virginia pay their fair share.
- We could actually have world-class schools. Everyone likes to talk about how every child deserves access to a world-class education. But the fact of the matter is that only some children (you know, the ones who come from rich, white families) in Virginia do. When in-person school resumes, we need to fulfill that promise for everyone. But right now, many of our schools are falling apart and need serious building upgrades. And that is just the bare minimum required. We also need to ensure that our schools have robust music and arts programs, sports, and other “extras” to help kids find and pursue their passions.
- Health care access could be a reality for more people. While we expanded Medicaid two years ago, there are still people across the Commonwealth who have to choose between going to the doctor and putting food on the dinner table. If we raised revenue, we could expand our state health insurance programs so that more people could see a doctor when they need to with no questions asked.
- We could have a real social safety net.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen at any time. Even if things seem to be going well, you never know when a pandemic might strike, and you’ll need that social safety net to fall back on. Whether that’s unemployment benefits to keep you afloat in between jobs, affordable housing programs to make sure you can keep a roof over your head, or public transit to help you get to where you need to go, we all benefit from robust public programs in our Commonwealth.
No matter our race, zip code, or how much is in our wallets, all of us work hard for our families and pitch in for our communities. We need to make sure that the huge corporations and millionaires and billionaires that have benefited from our community are paying their fair share too. If we come together, we can make sure that the people who have done well for themselves do right by our community and contribute to our community’s foundations. Call your legislator today and tell them that you want them to support legislation that would fully fund our schools, health care, and social safety net programs.