The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports today that Governor Northam will be leading a trade tour of the Middle East, beginning tomorrow. This is not unusual; governors routinely tour foreign countries talking up Virginia with government and private leaders in foreign countries.
However, the governor’s budget bill for the next biennium, the only budget that he will have complete control over (development and implementation) must be finished by about December 10, less than a month away, with the Thanksgiving holiday in there as well. Again, this is not unusual; other governors have scheduled their trade trips during the middle of November. This was frustrating for the budget writers in the Department of Planning and Budget because a lot of decisions had to be delayed until the Governor got back, thereby piling the work on the budget into the last few days before it had to be sent to the printer.
Notwithstanding the timing, the Governor’s absence this year probably will not cause many problems with budget development due to his approach to this activity. Every Governor has his own style, but basically they fall into one of two categories: diving into it or delegating. Allen, Warner, Kane, and McDonnell spent a lot of time going over the details, whereas Gilmore delegated a lot of the decisions to his chief of staff. More recently, McAulliffe and, now, Northam have delegated a lot of the initial review and vetting of the budget proposals to their policy office. So, the initial review of recommendations from DPB will be done by the policy office and Northam will have that office’s recommendations before him to ratify when he returns from his trade trip.There are currently no comments highlighted.