The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee released their budgets this afternoon (the Senate doing so despite rumors they would fail to craft one due to internal bickering among the Democrat majority's factions) and Governor Bob McDonnellhas just released his statement on the two proposals. Interestingly, contrary to his conciliatory tone at his news conference last week, where he politely disagreed with former Governor Tim Kaine's proposed budget, and where he said Mr. Kaine sincerely believed he submitted a good budget, but that the the two simply had an honest disagreement, the new governor came out swinging today. Check out the first quote in his statement.
Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on House and Senate Budget Amendments
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this evening regarding the budget amendments released today by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
I commend the leadership and members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for producing their budgets today. Due to the dire economic situation facing our Commonwealth this is an extraordinarily difficult budget cycle. It was further exacerbated by the previous Administration’s inclusion in their introduced budget of a $2 billion tax hike that was quickly dismissed by a 97-0 bipartisan vote in the House of Delegates. The proposed tax increase, which had no possibility of passage, simply put off until now the full challenge of closing a $4.2 billion cumulative shortfall.
For the past month we have met often with legislative leaders to discuss the budget in great detail, choosing a framework of bipartisan collaboration over dictation. I have laid out three major priorities for this budget: it must be done on time, not contain any general tax increases, and invest, even in a difficult fiscal environment, in job creation and economic development measures imperative to a successful recovery. The budget amendments from both bodies advance two of these priorities, and I am pleased by the common ground our partnership has produced.
Additionally, the House has put forward amendments advancing our job creation and economic development proposals. I am optimistic that the Senate will also support these smart investments in Virginia’s economic future as the budget process continues. There are other differences, some significant, over the specifics of the recommendations made by both Committees, and those put forward by our Administration. However, with today’s action we have taken a step in the right direction.
The parameters governing the budget making process from this point forward are set. We will work together across party lines to cut spending while not raising taxes. As we do this, we will not forget that the reductions we make, while necessary for the future prosperity and vitality of our Commonwealth, will mean real hardships in the near term for many of our citizens. There are no easy choices in closing the $4 billion budget shortfall that is unparalleled in Virginia history.
In the weeks ahead, I look forward to continuing to work with the House and Senate budget conferees in every manner by which this Administration can be helpful. I have great confidence that in the midst of the most difficult budgetary period in modern Virginia history we will pass a balanced budget on time, as the citizens of Virginia sent us here to do.