RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Lawmakers learned today that Virginia could experience a budget shortfall of nearly $3 billion in the next two fiscal years.
The grim forecast comes on top of more than $5 billion dollars in reductions to the current two-year state budget. Two local members of the House of Delegates that serve on the Appropriations Committee say that today's report is actually encouraging after weeks and weeks of bad news.
Delegates Kirk Cox and John O'Bannon both Republicans, both from central Virginia listened to a number of different in depth presentations on the state of the commonwealth's fiscal picture. The raw data is this: the commonwealth is facing a budget hole that could reach as high as $7 billion in the next year. That means more difficult cuts are going to have to be made. But, the economists the legislators heard from today, said the worst is behind us, and as long as the state is prudent, things will get better.
"We've got to see people start spending after they are finished saving. Because all of our revenue is based in the sales tax with people shopping for Christmas and people buying cars with the title and car tax," said Henrico Del. John O'Bannon.
But even though this could be the last round of cuts, it won't mean they won't be difficult. The biggest victim could be education, which is the largest share of the budget.
One option not on the table? Raising taxes. These two Republicans which in just a few short weeks will have an even larger share of the House of Delegates and the governor's mansion say, they will continue to cut before raising taxes is even considered.