McDonnell Offers Budget Amendments
Governor Bob McDonnell is proposing more new spending initiatives than cuts to the state budget for the first time since the start of the recession. Craig Carper reports.
In his first annual address to the joint money committees, Governor McDonnell offered 191 million dollars in spending reductions and efficiencies, and over 250 million in new spending.
McDonnell announced many of the major budget initiatives over the past several weeks, including borrowing 4 billion dollars to pay for road construction and maintenance, asking state employees to contribute 5 percent of their annual salary to their pension funds for the first time in 30 years, investing 58 million in new funding toward higher education and 54 million toward job creation and a complete elimination of state funds for public broadcasting over a two-year period.
The Governor has also decided to penalize VCU for its recent 24 percent tuition increase by withholding 17 million in state revenue, effectively reducing the University’s additional income by 50 percent.
McDonnell: 24 percent increase on the parents and students of Virginia is just unacceptable. We’re putting a lot of new money now into higher education and I don’t think we can sustain those kind of increases. We’ve doubled tuition on the backs of parents and kids for 10 years.
Democratic Senator Edd Houck of Fredericksburg said that while he believes the Governor’s overall vision for higher education is strong, he has his doubts about McDonnell’s actions toward VCU.
Houck: Exactly why VCU is being singled out with this tuition, I’m not clear and quite frankly, I think it’s very questionable singling out one institution.
Once the legislature reconvenes in mid-January, they will decide whether to adopt, adjust or ignore the Governor’s budget amendments.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square