Gov. McDonnell outlines budget cuts proposal

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In order to balance a budget you have two options, increase revenue generally through tax increases, or cut spending. For Governor Bob McDonnell only one of those options is viable.  In his mind, this budget proposal is exactly what the citizens of Virginia elected him to do.

"A couple billion dollars in tax increases are not proper," said McDonnell today in a press conference where he outlined his budget cuts proposal.

The new governor, faced with a daunting budget hole of more than $2 billion, has decided that in this tough economy, he must keep his promise of no new taxes. It makes fixing the state's budget problem a tricky task.

Democrat Edd Houck (D-Spotsylvania) is skeptical of the approach. "That has made these cuts even more difficult to deal with knowing that we really can't talk about revenue per se," said Houck, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

With no new revenue- or tax increases, McDonnell's budget team had no choice but to take a little from almost every section of the state government.  Education and health care, being the two biggest victims with $1 billion of the $2.2 billion in cuts coming from those two areas.

"This is totally historic in nature and will be devastating to our public schools," remarked Sen. Houck.

But health care and education aren't alone. State workers will directly feel the impact, with a proposal that will force them to take 5 days off, without pay. McDonnell is hoping to recoup some of their loss with a 3 percent Christmas bonus in 2011.

"Behind every cut, there is Virginian, somebody in this room, somebody out of the 7.8 million people that we have that might be effected by that," said McDonnell.   "These were all extraordinarily difficult decisions to be able to make."

Decisions that must now must be haggled out by the house and senate. A process that no one thinks will be an easy task.

PDF: The Governor's letter

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