Economy Slows, Budget Tightens, Common Sense Displayed

As the economy flirts with recession, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has conceded that he needs to revise revenue forecasts downwards in the next two-year budget. He will present his new projections to the General Assembly money committees in February, reports Jeff Schapiro with the Times-Dispatch.

Kaine’s decision validates criticisms that Republican legislators leveled in December against his previously announced spending plans, such as a $1.6 billion bond issue for higher education and an expansion of pre-K funding. The Governor’s revenue forecasts were too aggressive, they said, especially for fiscal 2010, the second year of the budget.

While Virginia faces painful choices, our situation is nowhere near as dire as in some other states. According to Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce, of the 21 states that have already made estimates, 14 expect revenue shortfalls totalling $29 billion in the next fiscal year. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes across-the-board cuts of 10 percent to nearly all programs, from K-12 education to public parks. To address New York’s looming $4 billion deficit, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is toying with the idea of securitizing future state lottery proceeds. In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick wants to count some $900 million in license fees from three new casinos that the legislature hasn’t even authorized yet. In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine wants to issue up to $38 billion in bonds to be paid for by higher road tolls.

We see our share of budget gimmickry here in Virginia — all worthy of mockery — but our lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, are paragons of restraint compared to their peers in many other states. The appetites of our big-spending liberals are far more modest. Our fiscal conservatives have more backbone. It could be worse…. much worse.

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  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    hmmm.. BR must be a lefty BLOG because all the Va RED Blogs think that Gilmore was Virginia’s version of Reagan… and pine away for his return and Warner/Kaine are tax&spend wolves in sheep’s clothing.


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