Virginia Closes Year with Budget Surplus!

Virginia closed out the fiscal year with a $220 million budget surplus, no mean accomplishment considering that it faced a $1.8 billion deficit in January. The press release from the Governor’s Office has the details.

Some of the surplus will be allocated to a bonus for state employees, who have gone without a pay raise for four years, to local school districts, and to Virginia’s Water Quality Fund, with the balance to be divvied up later. A humble suggestion: Start repaying that $650 million owed to the Virginia Retirement System.

Update: Norm Leahy with Tertium Quids deconstructs the governor’s press release from a fiscally conservative perspective.

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13 responses to “Virginia Closes Year with Budget Surplus!”

  1. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jeez Louise, Bacon,
    You grab at any bit of flotsam in your Republican shipwreck!
    McDonnell has his "surplus" in part by deferring $137 million for state workers' retirements in the fourth quarter of F.y 2010 and $610 million from the 2010-12 budget. Likewise, he's skimping on $200 million in payments to localities (see:
    So this "surplus" may be a great sound byte for McD's political future, but it's a wilderness of mirrors and deferred payments and NOT the chop-chop cuts you love so much.
    Jimbo, you are having another Jones Act moment.

    Peter Galuszka

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter, I agree with the first part of your comment — the pension money needs to be paid. But I don't care that local governments don't get payments from Richmond, since a disproportionate amount comes from Fairfax County, which rarely gets a fair share of any distribution.

    The "surplus" is a welcome shift in the wind, but, as you imply, we still have a long way to go. It's too early for a big celebration.


  3. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, It wasn't a long post — only two paragraphs. Too bad you didn't get to the bottom where I said, "A humble suggestion: Start repaying that $650 million owed to the Virginia Retirement System."

  4. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Yeah I see where you did cover yourself on skimping on retirement payments. But that headline? Geez.

  5. Yeah. I figure you have a budget surplus after everything that needs done is finished and all you prior promises are covered and THEN you have money left over.

    When you can afford to refund money to the taxpayers, you have a surplus.

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not a surplus, but a user fee is a tax.


  6. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    What's wrong with the headline? It's a fact — Virginia closed the year with a surplus. Perhaps you don't like the exclamation mark.

    Or perhaps you think I'm intending great praise of the McDonnell administration. I don't see any praise in the post. Perhaps you can point it out to me. All I was doing was noting a positive fact for Virginia in a world that delivers very little good news — not as an attaboy for the McDonnell administration.

    However, we can debate whether the McDonnell administration or the General Assembly deserves an attaboy, if you want to.

  7. Groveton Avatar


    You can call a pig a Cadillac but good luck driving it to Norfolk.

    Failing to pay a quantified obligation in order to claim you have a surplus makes it a surplus in name only.

    When Obama starts shoveling freshly printed money into the coffers of "states in distress" we'll be last in line due to our pseudo-surplus.

    It's buffoonery like this that causes me to totally and completely discount the various "best run state" awards Virginia is often given.

    As for McDonnell – he's just one leg of the three legged stool of deceit. The othe two are the House of Delegates and State Senate. Where are McDonnell's perennial critics sounding the "faux surplus" alarm? Where is Staslaw calling a deficit a defecit? Where is Donald Eachin? Where is Janet Howell?

    Stone silent.


    They are complicit in the hoax.

    In Virginia, it's never Republicans vs Democrats. It's not even conservatives vs liberals. It's incumbents vs everybody else, especially the "little people" known only as citizens.

    "Hey, vote for me!! Things are great. We even ran a surplus this year!!".

    I am looking forward to reading Boomergeddon. I hope some of the book describes the smokescreen used by the entrenched political class to make voters believe there are differences between the parties. The NAACP's random charges of racism. The conservatives Swift Boaters for Truth (or whatever it was called). You know – the faux issues which cloud the real issues.

    I wonder sometimes if the politicians of both parties ever get together and have a secret bash to celebrate the brilliance of their combined con on the American people. I can only imagine Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi doing tequila body shots while John Kerry and Dan Quale share a joint.

    "Remember that Murphy Brown BS John? That was a classic.", says Quayle. "Oh yeah … and the schtick about me having three purple hearts but being unpatriotic? That was brilliance." says Kerry.

    Up walks Bill Clinton (accompanied by a woman nobody has ever seen before). "Hey, y'all. You know the Cheney-meister is in the hospital? I'm taking up a collection for some flowers. You guys in?".

  8. Larry G Avatar

    Let's see .. the same folks that decry Kaine's "smoke and mirrors" fawn all over the Republican version of it?

    ha ha ha

    ya'll are a STITCH!

    TMT – you're still in denial guy about the 1% of the sales tax that it collects statewide – and then decides to spend it for State Priorities – to include equalized and equitable resources to kids education – no matter where they live.

    That 1% never did "belong" to Fairfax, nor to Fredericksburg, nor to Norton.

    It belonged to the state just as the income tax belongs to them.

    According to some.. if the State decides to put a DEQ regional office in Fairfax rather than Fredericksburg, it means that the state has "stolen" money from Fredericksburg, eh?

    Every State in the Union collects money from localities and redistributes it in an equalizing fashion for K-12 education.

    and truth be known.. they do it for other things like welfare and Medicaid also….

    Anyone ever figure out how much Fairfax gets "snookered" on those two?

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    "That 1% never did "belong" to Fairfax, nor to Fredericksburg, nor to Norton.

    It belonged to the state just as the income tax belongs to them."


    Why is it different with the gas tax, which you seem to think belongs to the localities where it is generated?

  10. Groveton Avatar

    How socialists think …

    "That 1% never did "belong" to Fairfax, nor to Fredericksburg, nor to Norton.

    It belonged to the state just as the income tax belongs to them.".

    Your money belongs to the state. Just be happy that the state lets any of your earnings "trickle down" to you.

    The money belongs to the people who earn it. Not to any damn government at any damn level. The people who earn the money may ALLOW the governemnt to have some of THEIR money in order to accomplish necessary public works. In those cases, the money still belongs to those who earn it. They just let the government direct some of it.

    The idea that the sales tax is directed to provide equitable education to disadvantaged youth is asinine. The children of millionaires in downstate Virginia consume some of that money just as the parents of children living in trailer parks along Rt 1 in Fairfax County pay that money.

    Wake up LarryG – counties don't pay taxes and counties don't consume taxes. People do both. Your socialist arguments are playing as poorly in Virginia as Obama's are playing nationally. Or, as badly as Greece's are playing internationally for that matter.

    Good day, Comrade.

  11. Larry G Avatar

    re: who "owns" the gas tax.


    I asked for AN ACCOUNTING OF IT.

    I asked for how much we get back.

    Like the sales tax – the state keeps some of the gas tax..

    I'm only asking how much they keep and how much comes back.

  12. Larry G Avatar

    re: who the sales and income tax "belongs" to.

    Unless you guys have taken the Tea Party Oath (which says the Constitution only counts when you agree with it)…

    the Constitution of the U.S.. and the Commonwealth – BOTH give the Federal and State Government the power to tax – and the power to decide how to spend it via a elected representative Bicameral legislature and Governor.

    The General Assembly created the 1% sales and the SOQ method of allocating it through the legislative process – and done according to the Constitution.

    Even in Home Rule States, Groveton, the State sales tax goes to the state.

    The 1% NEVER did belong to Fairfax … no more than it did to Emporia or Hampton Roads – per our Constitution.

    When the State takes your Income taxes and spends it on State Trooper or State Universities, do ya'll up in Fairfax also believe that you get gypped out of "your" money?

    I know it's getting tea-part-trendy to talk about overthrowing government and giving back to the people ..ha ha ha… but it sometimes sounds more like the serfs found a new supply of pitchforks and were dying for an excuse to try them out en masse.

  13. Larry G Avatar

    I'm all for a LOT MORE user-fees instead of taxes myself.

    And I'm in favor of people not getting any more back from social security and Medicare than they paid in (+ int).

    I'm in favor of tolls for roads.

    I'm in favor of schools charging user fees for any courses that are not directly related to SOLs as well as all extracurricular and sports.

    I'm in favor of basic fire and Rescue county-wide and those neighborhoods that want more – form a service district and pay for premium service.

    I'm in favor on the state NOT FUNDING Deputies but turning that duty over to the localities to decide how much they want to have in law enforcement services.

    I'm in favor of all localities in Va being responsible for their local roads with property taxes like 46 other states do and all the towns and cities in Va do.

    If you think that is "socialist".. then oh well.

    About the only area where I support the state reallocating is education because I very much believe that all of us – owe every kid in the State – the opportunity to an equal education no matter their geographic or demographic circumstances.

    other than that – I'm essentially for the HOme Rule (and home responsibilities) that Grovton says he's in favor of.

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