The Washington Post

Business groups urge action on Virginia budget

Another day, another urgent plea to end the state budget standoff.

Senate Finance committee chairman, State Sen. Walter Stosch (R-Henrico) speaks to the Senate on Feb. 29, when the chamber failed to pass the budget. (Steve Helber/AP)

“Without a budget, Virginia’s reputation as a stable, reliable partner for business could be damaged,” Barry DuVal, president of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said at a Capitol Square news conference.

Joining the chamber’s appeal were the National Federation of Independent Business, the Northern Virginia Technology Council and nearly 30 other business organizations that together represent 50,000 of the state’s 200,000 non-farm businesses. They employ a total of more than 1 million people in a state with an active workforce of about 3.75 million, DuVal said.

“We really are the voice of Virginia business,” DuVal said.

A day earlier, representatives of county governments also urged the Senate to act, saying the standoff was complicating their efforts to draw up local budgets and set tax rates.

Senate Democrats have voted down two, $85 billion budget plans and are threatening to scuttle a third in a bid for more power in the chamber. They are pushing to put more Democrats on committees that Republicans stacked in the GOP’s favor at the start of session.

The General Assembly seems unlikely to pass a budget by Saturday’s deadline, despite news Tuesday that House and Senate budget conferees had begun negotiations on a third spending plan, which has passed only the House.

The General Assembly could extend the session or adjourn without a budget and return for a special session. If they do not adopt one before the state’s fiscal year begins July 1, a partial government shutdown could result.

Democrats contend that a shutdown is unlikely and that the budget impasse can be resolved before causing any problems for localities or Virginia’s reputation.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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