With all the fireworks that have gone off so far in the General Assembly session, one could be forgiven for missing the biggest task confronting the worthies: putting together the state’s two-year budget. Each chamber has released its own version, which means (barring a boycott from Senate Democrats), the whole exercise will end up being decided by a select group of members, who will drop their final product on members’ desks minutes before the vote is called.
Over the weekend, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell issued a press release in which he “applaud[ed] the members of the House and Senate money committees for their support of our major budget priorities for the Commonwealth.” No word on whether that applause was thunderous or merely polite. Let’s just say that McDonnell is more concerned with the amendments the House and Senate have added to his draft:
The amendments put forth by both committees are detailed and numerous. They will require a very thorough review prior to our making any further, and more specific, comments about them. However, it is a very positive sign that there is broad agreement among our administration, the House and the Senate as to what the major priorities are in this budget, even if the funding levels differ somewhat at this point.
The different spending levels are going to be bones of contention. Legislators have been on a (forced) cutting spree the past few years and the pent-up demand to write bigger checks is likely enormous. That’s doubly so because this will be the first year in many that grants to non-state agencies will be off limits (owning to an opinion in early 2011 from the attorney general’s office that such goodies violated the state constitution).
[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]
Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.