VA week in review: Soybean subsidies and the budget impasse


By Bre Payton | Virginia Bureau

SOYBEANS: Gov. Terry McAuliffe talks up agricultural exports at Montague Farms in Windsor. (Photo: Cain Madden — Tidewater News)

This week, Virginia is subsidizing non-genetically modified soybeans for South Korean markets, while reaping little in return for Virginians.

The budget impasse over the Medicaid expansion is costing the state thousands per day while leaving city and county budgets in limbo.

This is your week-in-review.

Soy subsidy stirs ‘Frankenfood’ debate in VA
Virginia is helping an agricultural giant sell non-genetically modified soybeans to South Korea while reaping little value at home.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week announced $14,100 in matching funds to “enable Montague Farms to enter a new market, increasing and diversifying its opportunities for selling these value-added soybeans abroad.” Another $14,100 is provided by Isle of Wight County, home of a Montague processing facility.

Yet the payoff is peanuts for Virginians. McAuliffe’s office acknowledged that only three jobs will be added at Montague’s Windsor facility as a result of the state subsidy.

Medicaid expansion limbo may prove costly to VA taxpayers

Horns locked over Medicaid expansion, members of the General Assembly must return to Richmond on March 24 to finish what they couldn’t do in 60 days — finalize a budget.

When they do come back, that tab could cost taxpayers up to $40,999 a day, according to Beth Dingus, chief financial officer for the Virginia House of Delegates. That total comes from each day all 140 House and Senate members take their $180 individual expense allowances, and accept reimbursement for commuting to and from their districts.

As McAuliffe stumps for Medicaid expansion, local VA leaders plead for budget

Ever since the General Assembly adjourned without a budget because of the Medicaid expansion scuffle, McAuliffe has launched into full-time campaign mode at hospitals and clinics around the state, pushing the argument for bridging the health care coverage gap.

Some city leaders have formally requested state leaders expand Medicaid and cover their citizens’ health care.

Cities and counties, however, base some of their budget process off promised funding from the state. With the General Assembly at a budget impasse, some localities — including Loudoun County, Virginia Beach, Colonial Heights, New Kent County and Shenandoah County — are pleading with the governor to handle the Medicaid matter separately and pass a budget.

What about pensions, school choice? VA lawmakers ignore big issues this session

With Medicaid and mental health dominating Virginia’s legislative session, lawmakers left a few important issues in the dust.

When it comes to tax dollars and free markets, here are the top three missed opportunities for progress.

Contact Bre Payton at or follow her on Twitter @Bre payton.

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