Governor McAuliffe and General Assembly leaders have struck a deal to cut the state budget to cover an unexpected $2.4-billion revenue shortfall.
The agreement taps the state’s Rainy Day Fund, while closing a $346-million gap this fiscal year, and $536-million the next. The Governor stressed the bipartisan nature of the accord—flanked by GOP state lawmakers and the Democratic co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
"Not surprised—but still disappointing." That statement from one of Virginia’s budget-writing committee leaders is the consensus of the others who heard a dismal financial report from Governor McAuliffe. They nevertheless applaud the Governor for his leadership… and have already begun figuring out ways to address the projected shortfall.
Factoring in an $882-million shortfall for fiscal years 20-15 and 16 and prior revenue gaps, the governor says state leaders have a lot of digging out to do.
Some Virginia policy analysts say after months of stalling and keeping constituents on the edge of their seats, the General Assembly still blundered by passing a budget without Medicaid expansion.
Groups that include Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis say that not only has the budget left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without affordable healthcare options—but residents are left with a gaping budgetary hole that needs to be filled.
The state's economists and fiscal experts are urging lawmakers to pass a budget as soon as possible to help mitigate lower revenues by tapping into the state's rainy day fund.
They informed the House Appropriations Committee that if lawmakers don't act soon, the state has much to lose.
Like April, May's revenue forecast is still lower than projected. At this rate, the House Appropriation Committee’s Robert Vaughn says the projected deficit carried into fiscal year 20-15 is hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Virginia Senate has passed its version of the state budget for the next two fiscal years, which begin on July 1st.
Senators introduced the spending bill proposed by Governor McAuliffe, then added their own touches— including Marketplace Virginia, the private-insurance alternative to Medicaid expansion. But by the end of the day the Senate and the House were no closer to resolving their budget stalemate.