The Washington Post

Surplus could reach $200 million, McDonnell says

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says he hopes Virginia will end the fiscal year June 30 with as much as $200 million more in tax revenue than projected.

McDonnell has for several weeks been predicting that the state will end the year with a healthy surplus. He told reporters Wednesday that he cannot predict the exact size of the surplus, in part because the state collects 11 percent of its budget in June.

But he said he said that if the state “got somewhere between $100 and $200 million in revenue surpluses, that’d be good this year.”

Virginia is required by law to end the year in the black, but McDonnell has used strong surpluses to argue on behalf of his own stewardship of state finances. The state reported Wednesday that revenue grew by nearly 18 percent in May over a year ago, but growth of key income and sales tax collections has slowed.

“While the numbers are good and we’re very likely going to have a decent surplus this year, there are still cautionary trends,” McDonnell said. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

His comments come after a ceremonial bill signing at VCU for eight bills designed to encourage alternative energy usage. One bill creates a program that would provide financial incentives to companies that build alternative energy equipment. Another establishes a voluntary donation fund that can be tapped to provide low interest loans to homeowners to support installing solar panels on their houses.

“The key is more research and development to make alternative energy more commercially practical, so it can compete properly without subsidies with our traditional fuels,” he said.

Sierra Club Virginia club director Glen Besa characterized the initiatives as merely “working around the edges” of renewable energy promotion.

“The governor characterized these bills as small steps — we would agree,” he said.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.


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