Budget stalls for the third time after democratic stand - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Budget stalls for the third time after democratic stand

RICHMOND (WWBT)-  The threat of a Virginia government shutdown is growing after democrats at the State Capitol refused to pass a state budget.

This is the third time senate democrats have stood their ground, for the third different reason.

The division between democrats and republicans seems to be growing wider, and the time left to pass a budget is growing shorter.  If the two sides don't resolve their differences, state government as we know it is in big trouble.

It is a warning governor Bob McDonnell first sounded weeks ago. He repeated it again Tuesday.  

"Everything from teacher funding to current VDOT projects will be slowed or potentially postponed," said the governor.

Without a passed state budget, the government can't operate. The current budget ends June 30. It is a date fast approaching with no tangible sign of agreement to be found.

"They are the problem," said McDonnell.

No agreement, but plenty of blame to go around.

"This is the most fiscally irresponsible act that I've seen during my career," said McDonnell.

But democrats like Sen. Don McEachin (D- Henrico) believe the republicans are blowing things out of proportion

"There are those who want to scare the public and say the government will shut down," said McEachin. "That is not the case."

McEachin is among the most vocal hard line democrats. A group that three different times has used their 20 votes to block the budget from moving forward.

*In February they wanted power sharing in committee assignments..

*In mid- March it was more money for education and health care, a battle they won.

This time it's to stop a toll project that would help to fund a railway to Dulles Airport. A project that McEachin argues is an example of a bigger transportation problem.

"We need to regroup and come up with a solution for our transportation woes," he said.

But republicans say it is another in a long line of political power grabs, aimed at holding up an $85 billion budget that in one way or another impacts every Virginian.

The republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment hasn't given up quite yet.

"I am hopeful that after some libation that some sensibility will be restored to any otherwise intoxicated democratic brain," he said somewhat sarcastically.   

The general assembly is back Wednesday for an already scheduled veto session. The budget could come up, but the feeling from both sides is that it is unlikely.

For extended clips from yesterday's debate go to our political blog: Decision Virginia.

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