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Despite Deficit, Parties Propose New Spending as Election Nears

Kaine has also begun outlining his spending priorities. Last week, a committee established by the governor unveiled a long-term strategy to spend $130 million to expand access to health care for the state's 1 million uninsured people. The governor is also pushing to expand pre-kindergarten for poor children, at a cost of $75 million annually.

But Kaine could face difficult decisions because of the shortfall in the coming two-year budget.

Besides a 5 percent cut to agency budgets, Kaine is considering asking the General Assembly to transfer money from the state's $1.2 billion "rainy day" fund.

GOP leaders, and some Democrats, say they are unlikely to support the idea because they believe the fund should be reserved for an emergency or recession. Revenue is projected to grow in the coming budget, though at a slower rate than in recent years.

Kaine and the General Assembly also are facing a constitutionally mandated $1.1 billion increase in funding for public education, and they have ruled out additional taxes.

The Democrats' plan released Wednesday would allow veterans to take out a state employee life insurance policy and to partake in a counseling program that would focus on brain-related injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. The proposal also calls for state employees serving in the National Guard to be paid the equivalent of their state salary while serving. The state would also offer tax credits for companies that provide compensation for employees serving overseas.

The GOP school construction proposal would increase the money available to local governments to build and modernize schools.

"We will make every effort to put some funding in this year, but we are going to be prudent," Cox said.


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