We knew this was coming: Former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine quickly lashed out at his successor after hearing that Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell cut spending for one of his signature initiatives: pre-kindergarten education.
“It represents a short term approach to expense cutting that will actually prove fiscally unwise in the future,’’ Kaine said in a statement Monday. “The more we do to help our youngest succeed, the more the commonwealth succeeds. Saving at children’s expense is always the wrong approach.”
Kaine, who left office in 2010 and is now a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, increased the budget for pre-kindergarten, but not enough to expand the program to all 4-year-olds. House Republicans opposed the program, and have already talked about cutting it out of the budget next year.
McDonnell’s office scrambled Monday, after the two-year, $85 billion was unveiled, to say that while the budget seems to call for an $81 million cut to pre-kindergarten programs, the administration had merely corrected for faulty enrollment projections. There would, in fact, be more money for pre-K, administration officials said..
“We came up with a different set of projections for numbers of students and the dollars just flowed accordingly,” Finance Secretary Richard D. Brown. “The program is still vibrant, still healthy.”