UPDATE: Governor plans to cut $2.3 billion out of programs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

UPDATE: Governor plans to cut $2.3 billion out of programs

From NBC12 & Associate Press reports

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gov. Tim Kaine plans to lay off more state employees, increase the retirement age, and ask them to pay a share of their retirement contribution.  Friday's proposal cuts the state work force by another 664 positions as Kaine struggles to fill a $3.6 billion shortfall in the budget for 2010 through 2012.

Kaine's proposed reductions would bring the number of state layoffs since July 2008 to 1,651. Since 1983, the state has paid the full 5 percent employee share toward their pensions. Starting in July, workers would pay 1 percent of that. The figure goes to 2 percent in July 2011. Kaine also proposed freezing pay increases for two years and increasing the retirement age for new state hires from age 50 to 55.

Kaine also proposed decreasing state support for public schools by $357 million by 2012.

Besides the cuts to local school districts, state-supported colleges will see their state funding slashed by 26 percent starting July 2011.

As part of the cuts to local schools, the state would reduce health insurance funding for faculty and staff by $134 million in each of the next two years. Those on the school health plan will remain covered. Kaine's proposal would cut money schools use to insure all employees, including those on a spouse's plan, not the school's.

Kaine is also proposing to close several mental health facilities and cut funding to programs that provide crisis treatment for the mentally ill.

The cuts would undo millions of dollars in funding provided in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech, where a mentally disturbed student killed 32 others and himself.

Friday's proposal calls for a $12.2 million cut for community service boards that provide treatment and crisis services. Kaine's budget also calls for closing several mental health treatment centers for children, adolescents and older patients.

The proposals are in a 2-year state budget Kaine presented Friday. The plan struggles to reconcile a revenue shortfall of $3.6 billion from 2010 through 2012.

NBC12.com will have full coverage on air and online later in the day.

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Twitter from @AndyJenksNBC12 (WWBT) [Running commentary, first to last]

Cuts will be "painful to virtually every governmental priority."

Cuts coming to "education, health care, and public safety."

Proposal will reduce funding for administrative and support services in schools. "They're not more important than teachers," Kaine said.

Public Safety faces reductions approaching 20%. "Will almost certainly include layoffs," Kaine said.

Kaine: Reductions in Medicaid to approach $419 Million.

Kaine: 664 additional state layoffs. To impact VDOT, Juvenile Justice, Behaviorial Health, and UVA.

1879 additional vacant positions to be eliminated. Also, no pay increases through FY 2012.

Kaine: Proposes ending car tax payment supported by state funds.

Car tax payment comprises $950 million worth of state funds. Would either be picked up by localities, or, of course...car owners.

In an alternate proposal: Kaine suggests 1% income tax surcharge, in exchange for eliminating car tax completely.

Kaine wrapping up, therefore so am I...have to get in the middle of the post-speech media scrum. This oughta be dignified.

----------------------------

Twitter from @WRVACAPRPTR (WRVA) [Running commentary, first to last]

Governor says we need to hold onto our leadership position; could be setting stage for "revenue enhancements."

 Kaine says need to make significant cuts, but must protect core services.

"We can keep leading the way if we continue to make tough decisions."

 Kaine says he is going with conservative revenue estimates, meaning assumptions tax revenues will be low.

Budget gap is four billion dollars, according to Governor.

Kaine says K-12 was spared in previous rounds; but will be impacted this time by strategic cuts. reduce support for support staff

Additional closures to prisons not in the budget; Kaine says doesn't make sense for public safety.

Kaine proposes 664 layoffs, many vacant positions. Impacts VDOt and other agencies. No raises.

Kaine revealing changes to retirement benefits. Employees will start paying part of own portion of pension.

Kaine scolds GA for no new road revenue.

Kaine proposes shifting burden of some local employees to localities.

"Virginia has gone well beyond finding efficiencies."

Kaine says even with cuts, shortfall remains; but he feels he can't cut anymore.

Kaine targeting the car tax, no longer will pay it to localitues. Says taking 950 million to subsidize localties hampers state.

Kaine going on offensive over "No Car Tax" proposal.

Says Car tax budget line stays only because of "political expediency"

Kaine: Local car owners will receive higher car tax bills.

Now introducing Dealer Discount repeal; room still in shock over Car Tax idea.

Kaine says could replace car tax with 1% income tax surcharge.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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