Va budget talks near breakthrough ... or breakdown

Posted by Colby Rogers - email

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Talks over amending an austere state budget were reduced to a few issues that kept House and Senate negotiators at arm's length.

A day before Saturday's scheduled adjournment, differences remained over public school support staff funding and proposals to ease jail crowding through early release.

Conferees made quick progress Thursday on several key issues, including Medicaid funding for nursing homes, hospitals and the disabled.

But talks hit another logjam, and Gov. Tim Kaine attempted to loosen it by meeting privately with the dozen conferees at the Executive Mansion early Friday.

Without a deal by Friday afternoon, the legislature will go into overtime for at least the sixth time in the past eight years.

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