Virginia budget negotiations continue, deal unlikely tonight
House and Senate negotiators continued to meet to work out their differences on the state budget, but as they began the latest round of talks several legislators said a deal was unlikely to be reached tonight.
"Get real,'' Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw said. "It's not even close."
The small group of budget writers who are working on K-12 spending -- one of the most significant differences between the two chambers -- were to meet for the first time tonight. The Democratic-led Senate wants to spend nearly $500 million more on education over the next two years than the Republican-led House.
Legislators have been trying to reconcile two versions of the state budget that must be trimmed by $4 billion due to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The budget include deep cuts to education, health services and public safety.
A dozen negotiators have been meeting since last week to resolve dozens of budget disputes. They spent several days talking about fees, with senators largely agreeing in concept to eliminate some of them. Delegates rejected increased fees amid the recession, seeing them as no different than tax increases
Legislators are racing to finish before Saturday, the last scheduled day of the 60-day legislative session. If they stay in Richmond past Saturday, it would be the fifth extension in a decade.
March 11, 2010; 8:00 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate
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