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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Debate over state grants to charities continues

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A few days ago, Republicans in the state senate announced that one of their agenda items for the year is to eliminate all funding for so-called non-state agencies, private charities that have in better economic times received state grants to carry out their cultural or historical missions.

How then to explain a budget amendment proposed this year by a leading member of the Republican caucus, Sen. William Wampler (R-Bristol)?

Wampler has submitted an item suggesting that the state spend $75,000 this year on the Robert Preston House, the historic 1780 Washington County home built by a local surveyor.

Wampler says he put the amendment in on behalf of local constituents, as a way to get it discussed by the General Assembly. He said he would not expect his senate colleagues to approve the spending this year.

"The number's up in the air right now--but we're probably looking at a $400 million reduction. It's awfully hard to look at non-state agencies when you still have $400 million worth of spending to cut," Wampler said.

He added: "Everything else being equal, the project is a great project. But I'm not sure the timing is right to take it up this session. But that's the only thing I could do to get it before us."

But Wampler's friends in the Democratic party, who spotted the item, suggested the amendment was hypocritical, given the Republicans' stated displeasure with non-state agency funding. Wampler was the only Republican to sponsor an amendment for a non-state agency.

Democrats submitted $5.95 million worth of non-state agency proposals for the two-year budget, suggesting spending for everything from Northern Virginia Family Service to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame to the Science Museum of Western Virginia.

"We admire Sen. Wampler's courage to stand against rigid ideology to be an advocate for his constituents," said Keiana Page, a spokeswoman for the senate Democratic caucus. "However, we hope that he doesn't get in trouble with his fellow Republicans."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | January 26, 2011; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Comments

LOL. My house is historic. Can I get free money too?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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