McDonnell lays out specifics on budget, behind closed doors
Senate Democrats continue to rail about Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) not making public his suggestions for how to cut an additional $2 billion from the state's budget. But we now know this: It's not like he doesn't have suggestions.
We understand that when Secretary of Finance Ric Brown met with the Democratic caucus earlier this week, he read down a list of specific cuts McDonnell is recommending.
Apparently he spoke from a hand-written list, as senators busily jotted down notes. The suggestions included $700 million more from education over the next two years, about $300 million from Health and Human Resources and $700 million from employee compensation, largely from changes to the state's retirement plan and significant furlough time for state employees.
The Senate Democrats told Brown they'd take the governor's thoughts under advisement, but immediately asked for them to be put into writing and made public. Brown responded that he would take their request to the governor.
McDonnell expressed some exasperation to reporters Wednesday about the repeated calls from the Senate for him to put forward his ideas for cutting the budget. "I think we have given them a number of ideas. I'll continue to be specific with them as we go forward. I've made some recommendations already this week," he said.
"They're upset because I've ruled out tax increases on the people of Virginia in the middle of a recession. And so I've limited the options which is to spending. I know they may not be happy about that. They have to decide do they want to cut spending or do they want to raise taxes. And that's their choice."
McDonnell has been trying to build ties to the Democratic-led body. Last night, he invited the whole chamber to the mansion for drinks, a social event made a touch awkward by the killing of two McDonnell priorities on the senate floor Wednesday.
February 11, 2010; 9:14 AM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate
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