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Governor Releases Final Two-Year Budget 

Includes one last push to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe shown here at his victory party on Nov. 5, 2013 in Tysons Corner, Virginia. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Gov. Terry McAuliffe shown here at his victory party on Nov. 5, 2013 in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

One last shot at Medicaid expansion.

That’s the big $584 million line item in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s final two-year budget before he leaves office in January. He presented it to the General Assembly's money committees Monday morning.

The Governor has included expansion in every one of his budgets, but the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to do it.

With smaller margins than ever this year – Republicans hold just two-seat leads in both the 40-member Senate and 100-member House – incoming Gov.-Elect Ralph Northam will have the best chance to get it done.

Northam, who inherits McAuliffe's proposal, said he remains "fully committed to bringing our taxpayer dollars home to expand health care coverage to Virginians who need it."

"Virginians elected us all to put politics aside and do what is right – expanding Medicaid should be at the top of the list this session," Northam said in a statement.

If the legislature goes along, it would bring $400 million in federal dollars into state coffers and help extend healthcare to 300,000 to 400,000 Virginians.

The influx would also allow Virginia to balance its budget while funding other priorities, such as a 2 percent raise for state employees and more money for education and mental health services.

The $109 billion, two-year budget has $1.7 billion in new spending with $500 million going to public education and nearly $100 million to pay for state employee raises.

"In this balanced budget, I am giving you a roadmap to take our achievements to the next level," McAuliffe said. "And because we’ve gained ground economically, I am optimistic that we have the resources to do so."

To finish reading this story, visit the Virginian-Pilot here.

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