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Updated: McDonnell asks state agencies to look for budget cuts

Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has asked state agencies to look for budget cuts of up to 6 percent as he searches for ways to pay for his priorities -- economic development, higher education and transportation -- without raising taxes.

In a memo sent Thursday, McDonnell's Chief of Staff Martin Kent asked agency heads to submit plans to cut the equivalent of 2, 4 and 6 percent of their general fund dollars for fiscal year 2012.

"The Governor must prioritize the state's budget to address the most critical needs, the increases in mandated services, and the programs that will revitalize the Commonwealth's economy,'' Kent wrote. "This means that he must evaluate the entire budget to assess the value of the lowest priority spending against the above demands."

The proposals are due Nov. 5. McDonnell will present amendments to the state's two-year budget to the General Assembly on Dec. 17.

Legislators adopted a two-year, $78 billion budget in March that cut millions of dollars from education, health care and public safety. But since then Virginia's economy has begun to turn around with McDonnell announcing Virginia ended the fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of more than $400 million -- almost twice the previous estimate.

Ric Brown, McDonnell's finance of secretary, said the state does not currently anticipate a shortfall, but is using the budget cuts proposal as an exercise to pay for the governor's priorities and spending obligations, such as Medicaid.

McDonnell has yet to unveil his specific proposal for two of his biggest priorities next legislative session -- transportation and economic development -- but last week he said he would ask the General Assembly to put a downpayment of $30 million to $100 million on his goal of awarding 100,000 new college degrees over the next 15 years.

"That will put Virginia truly on a path, not just to being the most educated state, but the most educated in the areas that will create the jobs of the 21st century," he told reporters after addressing his higher education commission.

McDonnell met Wednesday with the Joint Advisory Board of Economists, which examines the state of the national economy and its impact on Virginia. The information from its meeting will be used next month by the Governor's Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates to devise the revenue estimates for the state.

This post has been updated.

By Anita Kumar  | October 21, 2010; 4:26 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

Tax Gasoline to pay for roads and infrastructure: Vehicles that use the roads create the need and cause the damage. More miles driven equals more maintenance needed. Taxing gasoline is the only thing that should be taxes to pay for roads. Virginia currently has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the nation. Either tax it, or live without well maintained roads and infrastructure.

State Sales, Gasoline, Cigarette, and Alcohol Taxes

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html

Use common sense and Tax products that create the needs and expense; otherwise communities should live without or elect someone that can do what is needed.

Posted by: Airborne82 | October 21, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Tax Cigarettes to pay for health care and Medicaid:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that health costs caused by smoking total $7.18 per cigarette pack sold and smoked in the United States. Cigarette smoking was estimated to be responsible for $193 billion in annual health-related economic losses in the United States ($96 billion in direct costs and $97 billion in lost productivity).

Virginia has the 2nd lowest cigarette tax in the nation, while state health care, Medicare and Medicaid costs are going up.

USA Map of State Tobacco Taxes

http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0222.pdf

State Sales, Gasoline, Cigarette, and Alcohol Taxes

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html

Tax the cause of health related disease or live without the ability to pay for health care, Medicare and Medicaid.

Posted by: Airborne82 | October 21, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

How about reining in the Attorney General and all of his lawsuits against health care reform? No chance of winning, but absolutely certainly wasting money.

Posted by: pppp1 | October 21, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with pppp1. cut cuccinelli's budget. restrict him to dealing with cases INSIDE virginia and stop his wasting millions sueing the federal government for his own personal politically motivated purposes.

Let liberty university sue the feds.

keep VA tax dollars in VA to fix VA's roads.

Posted by: MarilynManson | October 22, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I had the same thought. Get rid of Cuccinelli or rein him in. He's probably wasting more tax dollars than any other agency in the state.

Posted by: juliagraffam | October 22, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I’m confused here. I thought there was a budget surplus? I thought we found tons of money at VDOT? Why are we talking about budget cuts….

Unless we were lied to by Rev McDonnell who is spending his time fetish’zing ABC store booze, and free and happy blacks leading the confederate army and against the tax and spend north over economic policies.


If we cut out the AG office completely and turn it over to the VAGOP since all it’s doing is politics and not law enforcement, we could save so much on salary and lunch martinis by having VAGOP/Chamber of Commerce pay. They work for them anyway.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | October 22, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Remember how Gov. McDonnell was the darling of Conservatives when he announced his $400 million surplus? And how he planned divy it up? Is this deficit including this or beyond this surplus? Has the surplus been spent? Will we hear Fox News etc. telling the world how the surplus was in deed a pencil whipping of last year's budget?

Posted by: rsteffens1 | October 22, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Remember how Gov. McDonnell was the darling of Conservatives when he announced his $400 million surplus? And how he planned divy it up? Is this deficit including this or beyond this surplus? Has the surplus been spent? Will we hear Fox News etc. telling the world how the surplus was in deed a pencil whipping of last year's budget?

Posted by: rsteffens1 | October 22, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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