McDonnell pressured on budget by longtime ally Americans for Prosperity
In this space Tuesday, we mentioned the forthcoming "model budget" document coming out from Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group with long ties to Gov. Bob McDonnell. (Campaign Manager Phil Cox first took a leave from AFP to work for McDonnelll; AFP national president Tim Phillips has long been an adviser to McDonnell.)
For those who are interested, the "model budget" is now online.
Meanwhile, we were intrigued to read comments in this morning's Virginian Pilot from McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin indicating that the administration did not yet have a copy of the document. That seemed odd given the ties between AFP and the administration and the fact that AFP's Virginia director Ben Marchi served on McDonnell's transition.
Indeed, Marchi told us today that the governor's office has long had a copy: "Absolutely," Marchi said. "As it was written during the transition we gave it to them in segments and then we gave them the final copy."
Martin told us this afternoon that this is a simple misunderstanding, that he had meant to indicate Tuesday that he had not personally seen the report but not to speak more broadly for others in the governor's office. Indeed, he said Wednesday that the governor's policy office staff has had the document for some time and they are reviewing it.
"We agree with Americans for Prosperity that the $2 billion tax increase that was originally part of the introduced budget is irresponsible and would be detrimental to Virginia families and businesses. The Governor is now focused on working with legislative leaders in both parties to balance the budget, on time, and without any tax increases. The input from AFP will be very helpful in this process and we thank them for their innovative ideas," Martin said in an emailed statement.
The broader context here is whether some of McDonnell's closest allies among fiscal conservatives are already growing anxious with his leadership, just a few weeks into office. They have been urging him to more vigorously state his opposition to raising fees and pushing him to endorse broad spending cuts as the way to close Virginia's budget shortfall.
February 3, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
Categories: 2010 legislative session , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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