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McDonnell privately asks Democrats for time on budget

Rosalind Helderman

At a morning meeting with Democratic leaders, we're told Gov. Bob McDonnell pleaded for time and help in closing the state's $4 billion budget shortfall. According to several participants, McDonnell referred to comments made on the Senate floor made in recent days on cuts, and essentially asked Democrats to lay off a bit and give him time to put forward suggestions.

The Democrats said that McDonnell repeated his intentions to give them his suggestions on where the budget should be cut in the not terribly distant future. He did not commit to sending down his ideas as formal amendments to the budget nor to suggesting cuts that would total the full shortfall.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William), who earlier this week had said he believed the governor's public comments about whether he would be releasing budget amendments did not match what he had told lawmakers privately, now said he was giving McDonnell the benefit of the doubt.

"I just don't want to be wrong on something that critical," Colgan said. He said McDonnell had asked for cooperation from Democrats and he intended to attempt to provide it.

Democrats also mentioned to McDonnell the suggestion put forward by Kaine on the local school funding formula, which has many Northern Virginians very concerned. McDonnell apparently promised to examine the issue but made no committments.

One area where McDonnell apparently laid out some specifics was legislation he'd like to see adopted that would aid the establishment of charter schools in Virginia. Under legislation he will ask be proposed, McDonnell told Democrats, the state board of education would retain the ability to review and approve charter school applications but a new independent body would be established to review the applications of schools rejected by the state board.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 29, 2010; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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How long was the campaign? He should have a budget plan ready. Ah, leadership.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 29, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if he didn't spend all his time on that ridiculous sitcom that once was referred to as the response to the state of the union, he would have time to actually do what he was supposed to do. Packing the room with cronies and his adoring Republican storm troopers so they could clap for him as if he actually earned their praise was insulting.

But I suppose it is hard work coming up with ways to oppress the weakest citizens of his state with draconian cuts to the services they need to survive. I mean, where does he start with so many people to destroy: mentally ill children, disabled senior citizens, foster kids and college students. After all, it takes time to screw over a million people.

Posted by: thuff7 | January 29, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Word has it that the budget plan will need to wait. Mickey D has set his TIVO to record all the episodes of "The 700 Club" while he was out campaigning. It's going to take him weeks to see them all and many days before he gets to the one about Haiti making a pact with the devil. Who knows what will happen after he watches that one?

Posted by: thuff7 | January 29, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell is a photogenic little fellow with absolutely no idea how to lead a state through a fiscal crisis. When someone doesn't believe in government to start with, it's pretty tough to come up with governmental solutions to severe problems.

McDonnell is a Reaganite and a Robertsonian. He will give Virginia leadership that believes that "government is the problem, not the solution."

He has no budget ideas, other than keeping the wealthy from paying more taxes and cutting services to the rest of us.

Posted by: elainehowens | January 30, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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