Virginia Budget: Is The Hour Near?

Based on dialogue on the House floor this afternoon, it's a 50-50 shot the budget will be agreed upon in time by conferees and printed for a vote tomorrow. It may go to Sunday. Even into next week. Which gives us time to renew our call for no new or additional fees or taxes. However, according to news reports this morning, there may be some backtracking on cutting the much over bloated education spending. Of course, the VEA is making wild claims about thousands of teachers losing their jobs. It must be noted, however, that spending on K-12 education in Virginia has increased 60 percent over the last 10 years while enrollment in public schools has increased only 7.2 percent. In 2004, the General Assembly infused public education with more than a billion dollars in additional funding — remember that tax increase? — with no reforms, and every two years the antiquated funding formula guarantees one billion dollars in extra taxpayer money into public education.

Interestingly, The Family Foundation participated in a poll last year with last year with renown Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and found that a majority of Virginians vastly underestimate the amount of money Virginia spends per pupil on public education. While most thought it was less than $6,000, in fact it is in excess of $11,000 per student!

During the last budget process, as everyone recognized that we were in a deep economic recession, the General Assembly passed a budget based on then-Governor Tim Kaine's projection of significant increases in revenue. Such a notion was rightly dismissed as foolish by some legislators, but a budget laden with spending based on the fictitious numbers passed anyway. Now, we're paying the price in the form of a $4 billion deficit because even though the revenue was projected, the spending was real — Virginia's budget is based on estimated revenue, not actual receipts. So when the real money never showed up . . .

Yet, we're being told by some, we have to pay for their mistakes. The only one who should pay a price in this situation are those who spent the money — not those who supplied it. Tell your delegates and senators not to increase taxes and "fees" in the budget, and to cut its excessive spending to the levels of real revenue.

If you know who they are, you can get their contact info here for delegates and here for senators. If you don’t know who your delegate and senator are, click here.