Virginia posts fourth straight revenue surplus under McDonnell

July 12, 2013

Virginia has posted a revenue surplus for all four fiscal years of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s administration, the governor announced Friday.

McDonnell (R) said preliminary estimates put the surplus at about $262 million. This is the first time since 1998 — when Gov. George F. Allen (R) was in office — that a governor has reported a revenue surplus at the end of all four fiscal years during his term.

The fiscal year 2013 surplus brings the four-year total to an estimated $930 million.

Virginia’s economy, largely boosted by an abundance of military and federal contracting jobs, has been spared the brunt of the national financial crisis of recent years. But during his tenure, McDonnell pushed for budget cuts, consolidation of boards and agencies and reduced the state workforce by more than 2,000 people.

Ahead of this year’s automatic federal budget cuts — known as sequestration, which were expected to disproportionately affect Virginia — McDonnell called for state departments to again look at where they could cut costs to trim the budget.

In a statement, McDonnell said Friday’s news is further proof that Virginia’s economy is getting stronger.

“The numbers we are seeing show that Virginia’s housing market is starting to recover, and even more importantly more people are returning to work,” the statement read.

The commonwealth’s unemployment rate stands at 5.3 percent, nearly its lowest in almost five years. That number has been consistently below the national average, which is currently 7.6 percent.

McDonnell also announced that because the general fund revenues exceeded budget estimates, he will authorize a pay increase for state employees for the first time since 2007. Workers will see the raises in their paychecks in about a month.

A final tally of the fiscal year 2013 surplus is expected August 19. The preliminary estimate is the second-largest surplus of the past four years. In fiscal year 2010, the revenue surplus was $228 million; in fiscal year 2011, $311 million; in fiscal year 2012, $129 million.

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