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McDonnell pressured on budget by longtime ally Americans for Prosperity

Rosalind Helderman

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.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 3, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  2010 legislative session , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Rosalind Helderman:

Stop trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain with your leftist liberal leaning bias reporting.

The Governor will have a Budget when he has a Budget. Commentary on the backroom soap opera drama leading up to a budget won't destroy McDonnell's widespread popular support for this Republican in Virginia.

Go and do a story on how Democrats get stuck in the snow because those Prius vehicles just aren't built for life outside the city.

Posted by: AlbyVA | February 3, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"The Governor will have a Budget when he has a Budget"

Actually Alby, the Governor has indicated that, unlike his predescessors since at least 1970, he will not present a budget proposal.

While that may good politics, it is a stunning abdication of leadership and responsible policy-making that does not augur will for his term.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | February 3, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

A Republican in power, lying through his teeth and deceiving the public? Shocking.

Posted by: vztownes | February 3, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Rosalind Helderman!! We need reporters like you to keep McDonnell on his toes. If it wasn't for you, we'd never know what he is up to. Keep up the great work and keep us informed.

And Thank you Washington Post!

Posted by: Reality6 | February 3, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually he's waiting to see if the Feds will come up with more stimulus money to help the states with their problems. Then his problems won't be as great if they do so. He's now seeing that all the BS doesn't work when you have to actually lead. He knows he will have to piss someone off and is weighing the options as a good politician. The fact that he is so late shows VA is in for a long four years.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | February 4, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Dude says he's not seen the document.

Governer's office actually has said document.

Dude says, "Whoops, my bad."

You National Socialists sure do seem to enjoy writing the biggest non-story stories while virtually ignoring or out and out turning a blind eye to real ones (e.g., Climategate, etc.).

At least the document in question was actually linked to. Kudos on that, and nice try on the rest.

Posted by: Cville | February 4, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

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