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State of the Commonwealth

Thursday, January 13, 2005; Page A09

Excerpts from Gov. Mark R. Warner's speech to the General Assembly:

Financial Crisis

When I first came before you three years ago, the commonwealth faced an uncertain future.

_____Virginia Government_____
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Full Report

Political gridlock, a deepening national recession and a lack of fiscal discipline had created the worst budgetary crisis in Virginia history.

When I spoke to you that night three years ago, I asked you to join me in a renewed spirit of bipartisanship -- one that would look not for a Democratic solution or a Republican solution, but rather a Virginia solution.

I asked you to stand with me in building a stronger foundation for Virginia's future -- one that would guarantee new jobs and make us more competitive in a rapidly changing world.

And that's exactly what you did.

Bipartisanship

Working together during the past three years, we have confounded the skeptics and the cynics.

We've shown that here in Virginia, Democrats and Republicans can come together, put politics aside and make tough decisions when times demand it.

Together, we made the tough choices necessary to balance the budget. We cut spending. We cut the size of the state workforce. We consolidated agencies.

Taxes and Spending

Tax reform was an essential component of our work to fix Virginia's finances and to build the foundation for a stronger economy -- one where our people truly will enjoy a Commonwealth of Opportunity.

Tax reform affirmed a basic value that Virginians live by every day, which is that we pay our bills and keep our commitments.

With the budget that we passed last year, we achieved the three goals that I articulated from this podium one year ago.

We made the tax code fairer for Virginia's families.

We provided the funding necessary to meet our core commitments in education, health services and public safety.


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