Debt and Budget

VA Lawmakers Hoping for a More Productive 2015

Dec 31, 2014
Creative Commons

Virginia lawmakers are bemoaning the meager work accomplished in Washington in 2014. A look at how some lawmakers fear 2015 may once again bring stiff budget cuts that would hurt the state’s economy. 

Creative Commons, Flickr

Governor McAuliffe says when he addresses lawmakers about the state's budget this week, he intends to talk about his new economic development package.

His initiative includes legislative proposals that the governor says are necessary to reduce the Commonwealth’s reliance on federal dollars.

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.