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Posted at 1:15 PM ET, 02/23/2011

House, Senate extend budget deadline to midnight Thursday

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman

The Senate and House of Delegates voted Wednesday to extend the deadline for budget negotiators to reach a deal on the state budget until midnight Thursday after their original Tuesday deadline passed with no compromise.

The dozen lawmakers assigned to work out a deal between the two chambers are still far apart on a variety of issues, including funding for K-12 education, use of general fund money for transportation, how much money to put in the rainy day fund, pension reform, funding for a program to keep sexual predators locked up once their sentences are completed and how much to set aside to move developmentally disabled residents from institutions to community-based care.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William) had sounded optimistic about the conference's progressTuesday, predicting a compromise would be complete by Thursday. But Wednesday, he said the two sides had experienced a "backwards slide" and compromise was still elusive.

Once negotiators reach an agreement, it still takes hours to print a budget. If all goes well, legislators would likely be voting on the budget late Friday.

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Saturday. Last year, it extended its session by one day to finish work on the state's two-year, $78-billion budget.

Budget conferees began meeting a bit earlier this year as they look to make hundreds of changes to the state's two-year budget. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has met with them at least twice.

Representing the House are Dels. Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), Steve Landes (R-Augusta), Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Beverly Sherwood (R-Frederick) and Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth). From the Senate are Colgan, R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania), Richard Saslaw, (D-Fairfax), Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), William Wampler (R-Bristol) and Walter Stosch (R-Henrico).

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 23, 2011; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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