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Virginia Should Change Its Budget Process

From Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle

Editor’s Note: For those that have not had the pleasure of meeting Senator McDougle, he is one of the good guys. He is very involved in the Hanover Republican Committee and has always gone above and beyond for Hanover and Virginia. This is a proposal that I believe holds a lot of merit and will allow State Administrations to fully implement their vision for Virginia regardless of party.

Virginia Should Change Its Budget Process

Last month, Virginians spoke loudly. With over 58% of the vote, we elected Republican Bob McDonnell as the 71st Governor of Virginia. Additionally, we added a net of six Republican seats in the House of Delegates.

McDonnell and his Republican ticketmates won running on a platform that included a commitment to not raise taxes during a time of recession. They knew that the worst time to consider a tax increase is while Virginiaâ?Ts families are having trouble making ends meet.

They pledged to balance the current budget shortfall through targeted cuts, efficiencies, and spending reductions. And they vowed to aggressively seek to improve the economy by attracting new jobs and economic development opportunities to Virginia.

Voters responded well to this message as the election results prove.

Less than 45 days after the election, Governor Tim Kaine proposed a new two-year budget for Virginia. Embedded in his budget is a proposal to end car tax relief and to replace the car tax with a new income tax â?osurchargeâ? of 1% of a personâ?Ts income. The result of this proposal is a net tax increase on the citizens of Virginia.

During his campaign, McDonnell vowed to pay for transportation improvements in part by selling and privatizing Virginiaâ?Ts ABC operations. In his budget, Kaine embeds revenues from a proposed 2% increase on liquor prices at ABC stores.

Setting aside personal feelings on the policies proposed in Kaineâ?Ts budget, the objectives do not mesh with the policies laid out by the incoming Governor and incoming House of Delegates. This demonstrates an inherent weakness in Virginiaâ?Ts budgeting process.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, Virginia has operated under two-year budgets. Currently, when the General Assembly meets for sixty-day sessions in even-numbered years, we enact a budget for the following two years. When we meet for forty-five day sessions in odd-numbered years, we review the budget passed the previous year and make appropriate mid-way revisions to the budget in light of economic changes.

The process begins when a Governor introduces a budget proposal in December. The Governorâ?Ts introduced budget becomes a bill that serves as the starting point for the General Assemblyâ?Ts work on the budget.

The problem with the current system is evident considering Governor Kaineâ?Ts proposal on Friday. With less than one month left in his term, Governor Kaine introduced a budget that includes vastly different priorities than those of the incoming McDonnell Administration and General Assembly.

There was little motivation for Kaine to do otherwise. He will not have to shepherd the budget through the General Assembly and, come March, he will not have to make a decision of whether to sign, veto, or amend the budget passed by the General Assembly. In short, after introducing a budget proposal this year, Kaineâ?Ts direct involvement ends for good.

But while Kaine is ending his involvement with the budget, he is making the job of the General Assembly that much harder. Knowing the current political realities and the priorities of the incoming administration, we know the tax and fee increases embedded in Kaineâ?Ts budget proposal will not succeed. As a result, we must start from scratch to determine appropriate cuts. The Kaine proposal will not prove a useful starting point.

To address this exact issue, I introduced legislation last year to alter Virginiaâ?Ts budgeting process. While still allowing for a two-year budget, my legislation proposes that the General Assembly pass the two-year budget in odd-numbered years and make revisions to it in even-numbered years. The lengths of the sessions are reversed accordingly.

Such a change will be particularly beneficial during a gubernatorial transition every four years. Under my plan, a new administration will enter office during the middle of a two-year budget already enacted. During the Governorâ?Ts first General Assembly session, he or she will oversee revisions to a budget already in place.

This change prevents a situation like our current one, where an outgoing Governor presents a budget that is not in line with the priorities of his successor.

The legislation has the added benefit of allowing an incoming administration an extra year to learn the process and develop expertise before having to develop an entirely new two-year budget.

And my bill ensures that whenever a Governor introduces a two-year budget, they will be present to advocate for their budget before the General Assembly, to sign, veto, or amend what the General Assembly passes, and to govern for at least one year under the new budget.

Last year, my proposal failed to advance through the General Assembly. I am introducing the measure again this year and am hopeful our current predicament clearly demonstrates the wisdom of this change.


Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) is a member of the Senate of Virginia representing the Fourth Senatorial District.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

2 Responses to “Virginia Should Change Its Budget Process”

  1. Sandy Sanders

    Sen. McDougle is a rising star in the GOP. I’m pleased for hi to be My state senator.

    Sandy Sanders

  2. I propose not to hold back until you earn big sum of cash to order all you need! You can get the credit loans or car loan and feel comfortable


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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