Debt and Budget

Federal Budget Storm Still Brewing

Sep 8, 2015
AP Photo/J. David Ake

Lawmakers were away from Washington all of August, but there was little reason for them to take that extended vacation. They only have until the end of September to fund the government or else the government will shut down.

Remember sequestration? That's those indiscriminate budget cuts that ripped across the military and most every federal agency a few years ago. Two years ago lawmakers were able to get sequestration off the books by reaching a bipartisan budget deal, and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner bemoans that those talks aren’t taking place now. 

 “All is not well—Rosy Surplus Numbers Don't Erase Damage from Budget Cuts.” That's the title of the latest report by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis.

And the organization's president says as candidates campaign for election to the entire General Assembly this November, it's imperative that voters have a conversation with them about the state's long-term budget problems.

Feed & Read

Jul 9, 2015

For many children, summer is a time to enjoy a break from rigorous class work. But for some kids, summer vacation means that they’re no longer guaranteed a lunch- and in some cases, even breakfast. Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe visited Roanoke’s Main Library Wednesday to celebrate the Feed and Read program, which works in conjunction with the Summer Food Service Program. The S-F-S-P provides free meals to children 18 and under in eligible areas throughout Virginia.

There’s good news from the Governor and the heads of the General Assembly’s money committees. Despite dealing earlier with a significant revenue shortfall, the state is now seeing a $338-million revenue bump from withholding through corporate income tax and insurance premiums.

It amounts to $162 million more over the biennium after a $176 million  deposit into the Rainy Day Fund. Governor McAuliffe says it provides a little extra money to spend as the budget is crafted.

A decision made a decade ago by the city of Buena Vista created a debt load that city leaders now call insurmountable. It's a situation that might well serve as an object lesson for other localities in Virginia.