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Senate rejects most of McDonnell job package in budget

Rosalind Helderman

Legislative and budgetary measures designed to create jobs are Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's top priorities for the current legislative session. So it may be no great surprise the Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee declined to include most of his package in the budget it passed Sunday.

Doubling the Governor's Opportunity Fund, used to lure corporate relocations? Nope. The Senate included the $12.1 million for the fund that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) had recommended but did not double it as McDonnell wanted. They took the action even though Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) also proposed doubling the fund during the fall campaign.

Money for opening new trade offices in China, India and the U.K? A big increase in state funding for tourism promotion? New dollars for Virginia's Business One Stop program? The House of Delegates included each in their budget Sunday; the Senate did not.

Senators noted they did include funding for a new biotech center in Northern Virginia, as endorsed by McDonnell. And they passed a variety of tax credits and other bills that McDonnell wanted for job creation, each of which has budgetary impact.

"We've done quite a few things he wanted," Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington) told our colleague Fredrick Kunkle Sunday. She also noted the Senate moved to increase McDonnell's flexibility to use the existing opportunity fund. "We feel those are pretty important points."

McDonnell was fairly gentle in reaction to the Senate's action. In a statement Sunday, he merely noted the House's inclusion of his proposals and added, "I am optimistic that the Senate will also support these smart investments in Virginia's economic future as the budget process continues."

And maybe he has good reason not to get terribly upset. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) said this afternoon he has no doubt the Senate will ultimately double the governor's opportunity fund--provided they get something in return for it.

"That'll be a conference matter and we can take it up and perhaps we can trade them something," he said. "I wasn't too concerned about that."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 22, 2010; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Wait a minute i thought Democrats weren't obstructionists??? LOL who were they kidding.

Posted by: zcxnissan | February 22, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

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