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Virginia Politics
Posted at 08:55 AM ET, 01/05/2012

Legislators hold public hearings on $85B state budget

Have some thoughts on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal to pump billions into the state pension system? Or to cut funding for public broadcasting? Or on how he should fund Virginia’s perpetually clogged roads?

You’re in luck.

Lawmakers will kick of a series of public hearings across the state Thursday to solicit opinions of McDonnell’s $85 billion, two-year spending plan.

McDonnell (R) last month recommended shuffling millions of dollars from public schools and health care to his top priorities of pension reform, higher education and transportation. He did not propose higher taxes, but did recommended collecting $22 million in new fees. The General Assembly will consider McDonnell’s budget recommendations when it returns for its annual legislative session Wednesday.

Legislators have the power to completely overhaul or ignore the plan. McDonnell’s chances of getting his budget passed have improved since the November elections, because Republicans now control the House and split the Senate with Democrats, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) having the power to break tie votes. But on Monday, Bolling said he does not believe he can vote on the budget.

Five hearings will he held this week, including one in Fairfax County on Friday.

The full schedule is below:

Thursday at 10 a.m.

- Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College, Philip Taylor Hall, Goodloe Center

Friday at 10 a.m.

- Fairfax County – George Mason University, Fairfax Campus, Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall

Friday at noon

- Newport News – Christopher Newport University, Ferguson Center, Music and Theater Hall

- Lexington – Virginia Military Institute, Marshall Center for Leadership and Ethics, Hall of Valor

- Richmond – Medical College of Virginia, Larrick Student Center, 900 Turpin Street

By  |  08:55 AM ET, 01/05/2012

 
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