On the eve of a special General Assembly session that a partisan budget standoff forced on Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) would like legislators to know just how much the state needs a spending plan.
In a letter this week to House and Senate leaders and key budget negotiators, McDonnell laid out a worst-case scenario. If details of a two-year, $85 billion budget are not worked out and state government is at least partially shut down, McDonnell said, that could result in: a downgraded state credit rating; shuttered schools; unpaid police; halted transportation projects; furloughed state employees; tuition hikes at public universities; and delayed tax refunds.
“The current situation is the first time since the beginning of the biennial budget process in 1921 where no budget has passed the legislature during the regular session and no conference committee has convened,” McDonnell wrote. “This is not the kind of history that the mother of presidents and cradle of democracy should be making. We cannot start down a road of becoming like Washington, where a budget has not passed for 1,000 days, and multiple funding crises are the norm.”
Senate Democrats, whose demands for more Senate committee power and spending precipitated the budget impasse, have said they expect the budget to come together well before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.