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McDonnell likely to call legislators back to Richmond for pair of special sessions later this year

Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he might call legislators back to Richmond for two special sessions later this year -- on transportation and government reform -- but only if he can first build support for his proposals.

"I'm not going to put forth a half-baked proposal, have people complain and have it fail," he said in a recent interview in his office in the Patrick Henry Building.

McDonnell said he will soon name the members of a commission on government reform and restructuring who will work to find savings in government. He said the group will conduct a "top to bottom" examination of state government, including privatizing state liquor stores, consolidating agencies and eliminating state reports.

"There are some agencies I think that may have outlived their usefulness,'' he said. "Some have been around for decades and decades, centuries. We need to look at if there are smarter ways to do things.''

McDonnell said he has spoken to Republican governors Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana about some of the reforms they are trying in their states to save money.

"When I have a substantive package of meritorious government reforms that will save a substantive amount of money, it would be my intent to have a special session so I could get these things passed so I could take the savings and put it back into restoring the cuts,'' he said. "Right now, with this economic downturn, families and businesses having to make adjustments and cuts, people are more willing to think outside the box and support a governor that wants to change the way you do business."

McDonnell said Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton has been working with another group of advisers to come up with ways to tackle the governor's transportation goals. He outlined about a dozen proposals for finding road and transit funding during the campaign last year.

"I didn't think I could get political support when we are cutting $4 billion,'' McDonnell said. "The question is how fast can I build the political consensus around a series of ideas around the campaign."

McDonnell said legislators started making inroads in transportation and government reform though a handful of bills that were passed during the 61-day regular session that ended Sunday -- raising the speed limit on rural interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph, agreeing to spend future revenue from unapproved offshore oil and gas drilling to improve state roads and conducting independent audits of the state's largest agencies.

By Anita Kumar  |  March 15, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Comments

"McDonnell said he has spoken to Republican governors Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana about some of the reforms they are trying in their states to save money."

no way, Bob. if you want state government reform, then you need to check out New Jersey governor Chris Christie. that guy is cleaning house.

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