Final Budget Deal Reached

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It took a day of overtime, but the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a new two year spending plan Sunday afternoon.

The 70 billion dollar state budget runs through 2012 and makes some of the deepest cuts in state history.

Governor Bob McDonnell called the effort a tremendous accomplishment

"I think it's make the best of an extraordinarily difficult fiscal time."

With state revenues 4 billion in the hole, Virginia lawmakers had to make some of the deepest cuts in modern history.

The 70 billion dollar spending plan erases furlough days for state workers, slashes fee increases sought by the Senate by 60 percent. And it cuts 250 million from public education.

Far less than cuts proposed by the House, but more than the Senate preferred.

The General Assembly also froze the funding formula used to dole out education funds in 2011.

Many lawmakers applaud the effort, it passed with only 29 dissenting votes.

But some, like Senator John Watkins, still say the cuts don't go far enough.

"I don't think that they've got a clear idea of what the next year is really going to produce...I think our revenue projections are too high...if they think this is bad, wait till this time next year."

The new two year spending plan does supply the governor with nearly 50 million in economic development monies.

"I think I've been equipped with the tools. I'm going to go out around the country and beyond to tell the great Virginia story and get people to invest here so that we can start talking about surpluses next year," said McDonnell.

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