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UPDATED: McDonnell might not make further budget cut proposals

Anita Kumar

Will Gov. Bob McDonnell recommend budget cuts to make up for the state's multibillion-dollar shortfall?

We still aren't sure.

Last week, McDonnell told budget negotiators (and reporters) that he expected to send legislators a list of proposed budget cuts.

He was asked if he would offer cuts beyond the ones needed to offset his new spending initiatives.

"I intend to,'' he told reporters at a news conference. "Two billion is the hole. ... In due course, I will make cuts to the money committees."

But today, at a news conference, he backtracked and said he might not offered further budget amendments (beyond the ones introduced yesterday to offset his $50 million in new programs.) Instead, he said he might just continue to meet privately with legislators and provide guidance.

"We're working on the best way to do that,'' McDonnell said. "How and when and under what format, we are still discussing, but I want to be a help so by the time a budget reaches my desk, I know it's pretty close to me being able to sign."

McDonnell previously said he had decided not to submit a revised two-year budget to the General Assembly -- as is the normal practice even when the same party remains in power. Instead, he said he would submit a series of budget amendments as well as inform lawmakers of his priorities.

McDonnell opposed former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine's proposal to replace the long-hated car tax with an income tax increase, but he has not said how he would make up for the $2 billion the tax was expected to bring in.

UPDATED: 4:29 p.m.: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William) said this afternoon that McDonnell had previously assured House and Senate budget writers that he would indeed be sending down formal amendments to cut the budget -- and that both sides had agreed such a move would be useful.

"They met with the conferees once," Colgan said. "Last Thursday morning. I think he said -- in fact, I'm sure he said -- that he was going to send down budget amendments. The budget conferees met yesterday and we talked about that. And we all expressed that we thought that was good news. He should send them. If he doesn't send down amendments, what base do we work from?"

Colgan noted McDonnell's public comments on the issue this morning seemed
"a little bit hesitant."

"But he did tell us. And I talked to the secretary just yesterday. And he said, 'we're working on it. We're working hard. Six, seven hours a day, just on that issue.' He said, 'we're doing the best that we can and we'll get something to you,'" Colgan said.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 26, 2010; 3:28 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Next: McDonnell: No decisions yet on school funding factor


Who is Chuch Colgan and what did he do with Chuck?

Posted by: JTR555 | January 26, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Colgan noted McDonnell's public comments on the issue this morning seemed
"a little bit hesitent."
Hesitent??? Even a spell checker would catch that.

Posted by: checkered1 | January 26, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys, I'll fix those.

Christopher Dean Hopkins
Deputy Editor, Local Politics and Government

Posted by: Christopher_Dean_Hopkins | January 26, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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