The Governor’s budget recommendations were released today. According to Governor McDonnell:
“All the cuts give me heartburn,” McDonnell said at a news conference. “All of them were difficult because I know that behind every cut there is a Virginian . . . that might be affected.”
Some of the lowlights from the governor’s cuts are as follows:
- $730 million in reductions to k-12 education
- Up to 10 unpaid furlough days for state workers
- Freezing enrollment in a health insurance program for low income children and pregnant women
- Increased employment contribution to the state pension program.
- Eliminate funding for the state school breakfast program for low income children.
Some of the highlights include
On the other side of the employees’ proposed unpaid days off, McDonnell wants to give them a 3 percent Christmas bonus in December 2011.
He also wants to eliminate former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s proposal under which state employees would be required to contribute 1 percent of their salaries to their retirement plans in fiscal 2011 and 2 percent in fiscal 2012.
Details haven’t been worked out and there are definitely other programs on the chopping block. The General Assembly now has to get down to business. According to House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem in the Richmond Times Dispatch:
McDonnell’s recommendations were welcome.
“We all are going to have a lot of tough decisions,” Griffith said. “Ours may not be the same tough decisions the governor makes, but we’re all trying to get to the best budget we can get with the money we have and all ideas are.”
Griffith also agreed with the governor about unfreezing the LCI formula. according to the Roanoke Times.
House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, defended McDonnell’s decision to lift a proposed freeze on adjusting the state’s local composite index school funding formula. The composite index measures a locality’s ability to pay for its public schools, and Kaine had proposed delaying an adjustment to the formula in his December budget. Lifting the freeze will steer more money to Northern Virginia at the expense of other localities, but Griffith said the governor is right to propose the change.
“If we start saying when it benefits another region of the state that we don’t like it, then in a couple of years they may do away with it and we’ll be getting the short end of the stick,” Griffith said. “It’s helped us for 30 years. It hurts us this year. But I suspect it will help us for 30 years in the future, and messing with it and playing games with it in a single year is foolish.”
Much will unfold over the next week or so as far as budget cuts. Most of us will be unhappy over something. People will attempt to defend their own turfs. In most cases it won’t always be possible. However, these are tough times and we knew it was coming. Feel free to add to the list in this thread as we find out more proposals by the governor or the General Assembly.