Home Virginia Politics Bob McDonnell’s Scrooge Budget: Keep Giving to the Rich, Take from Kids,...

Bob McDonnell’s Scrooge Budget: Keep Giving to the Rich, Take from Kids, Seniors, etc.

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Gov. Scrooge Bob McDonnell just finished presenting his budget for Virginia, and it’s as bad or worse than most of us thought it would be. A few lowlights:

*There are no new revenues in the budget {UPDATE: I’m informed that there’s an increased drivers license fee, which could raise a few million dollars a year — still utterly inconsequential in the context of an $85 billion two-year budget, but it’s worth mentioning for accuracy’s sake) which means that everything’s a zero-sum game. Remember that, as you analyze the budget: if there’s an increase in one area, there has to be a decrease in another.

*No new revenues also means continuing to starve transportation (have fun stewing in gridlock for many more years to come), failing to replace federal “stimulus” funds that are now ending, and absolutely nailing Medicaid (“$258.6 million saved by not funding inflation costs for hospital rates under Medicaid“).

*The budget hurts kids, foolishly and counterproductively taking$81 million from gutting Democratic former Gov. Tim Kaine’s Virginia Preschool Initiative.” That’s really, really stupid, as pre-k is one of the most effective ways to get kids learning early. Why on earth would McDonnell cut that?

*Meanwhile, note that the wealthiest Virginians and most powerful corporations aren’t asked to pay any more. And note that there are no cuts to corporate welfare (e.g., coal, movies, wine, you name it — even the space industry gets some holiday goodies!) in this budget, despite the fact that this largesse costs Virginia tens of millions (or more) per year, for mostly no good public policy reason. Priorities, priorities, I suppose.

Bottom line: this is a classic Teapublican’t budget — hurting the poor, the elderly, the young, the most vulnerable, while protecting the gravy train rich people and corporations are riding on. It’s disgusting, but it’s also not surprising, given that this IS the Republican Way after all. Ebenezer Scrooge had nothing on these guys when it comes to cold-heartedness and selfishness.

P.S. The House Democrats’ press release is on the “flip.” I’m not sure how they can “vow” anything, given that there are only 32 of them in the 100-member House of Delegates, but alrighty…

House Democrats Vow to Protect Critical Needs in State Budget

Richmond, VA-House Democrats offered measured reactions to the Governor’s budget proposal as outlined during the Joint Finance Committee meeting this morning.

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to see the complete budget and not just the pieces that have been released by the Governor over the past few weeks. This budget deserves a thorough review to ensure that essential state services including education, law enforcement, health care, and transportation are properly funded,” said Minority Leader, David J.Toscano.

House Democrats reiterated the concerns expressed during last year’s budget debate that the Governor’s transportation initiatives will be funded at the expense of essential state services like education. “While we need to review the details of the budget,” said Toscano, “the Governor’s initial proposals appear to divert nearly $110 million dollars from critical funding needs in the areas of education and public safety, and impose serious financial demands on localities at a time of severe fiscal stress. Those pressures will ultimately affect the services Virginia citizens use in their hometowns and the taxes they pay to maintain them.”

“Our children must be prepared for a 21st-century economy, and that begins with a world-class education from pre-kindergarten through college. We will scrutinize every line in this budget to ensure that education dollars aren’t being diverted to other areas such as road funding,” said Caucus Chairman Mark Sickles. “We need to move the state forward with serious, sustainable transportation proposals that don’t come at the expense of our kids and schools.”

“This budget is a starting point for a conversation that will take place in the upcoming legislative session,” said Delegate Ken Plum, Caucus Chairman Emeritus. “Last session, House Democrats fought to restore proposed cuts to education, sheriffs, and health care services. We are prepared to fight to ensure that these priorities, the priorities of all Virginians, are reflected in the final budget – and that it won’t hurt the working families that are vital to keeping Virginia’s economy strong.”

  • Virginia’s Grinch Comes Early This Year: McDonnell Unveils 2-Year Budget Proposal Targeting Cuts Towards Programs Supporting Most Vulnerable Citizens

    “Pass the Buck” Bob’s Christmas present to Virginia families targets cuts to those hit hardest by the recession

    Governor McDonnell unveiled his two-year budget this morning in a speech to the legislative money committees and this particular Christmas present to Virginia families should be marked “return to sender.” As predicted, the Governor’s budget takes a cuts-only approach to close Virginia’s projected $1 billion budget shortfall. The Governor’s proposed cuts target programs for poor and needy families and seniors, delivering devastating budget cuts to education, health care, and social services.

    “Governor McDonnell revealed his true priorities this morning and they could not be more out of step with Virginia families,” said ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl. “While poverty in Virginia is on the rise, the Governor proposes slashing  support to those hardest hit by the recession while preserving tax breaks and giveaways to big business and the 1%. These are not Virginia values.”

    According to the AP, the targets of McDonnell’s budget cuts include Pre-K programs, Medicaid, indigent care, and long-term care. McDonnell’s budget does not include proposals to close the tax loopholes and giveaways that riddle Virginia’s tax code. A recent JLARC report found Virginia loses $12.5 billion in revenue a year through credits and giveaways that receive little-to-no scrutiny and accountability. The most egregious include:

    *Over 60% of Virginia corporations pay no income tax in Virginia, while families on the Commonwealth are taxed on their income

    *Thanks to loopholes, big business are able to dodge Virginia taxes by outsourcing the money they made here and importing losses from other states.

    *In 2008, coal companies received $31 million in tax breaks designed to slow layoffs in the industry. Instead, unemployment increased even more quickly than anticipated

    *Sales taxes on yacht purchases are capped at just 2%, providing a huge tax break to buyers of a $100,000 yacht while Virginia families pay the full sales tax rate on their purchases

  • “When I was Governor, I cut more than $5 billion from the state’s budget and left the state’s General Fund smaller at the end of my term than at the beginning. But, I recognized that the key to Virginia’s economic success was a commitment to being the “talent society.” For that reason, I passed the largest investment in higher education facilities in Virginia history. And, I dramatically expanded early childhood programs so that at-risk children could begin their educational careers with a higher chance of success.

    “The proposed removal of $81 million in funding from early childhood programs in the introduced biennial budget has the potential to hurt thousands of children and their families now and in the future. It signals a retreat from Virginia’s commitment to winning the battle for talent. And, it represents a short term approach to expense cutting that will actually prove fiscally unwise in the future.

    “The more we do to help our youngest succeed, the more the Commonwealth succeeds. Saving at children’s expense is always the wrong approach.”

  • glennbear

    Since governor Bob has decided that corporate giveaways and tax loopholes should be funded by individual taxpayers which I disagree with I am going to make my own tax loophole. The taxes I paid on my pension for 2010 will be the last monies that the state of VA will get from me. The loophole I am using is that my pension is based on wages earned in another state therefor using the logic the GOP applies to corporate earnings my pension is exempt from taxation. Sorry GOP, reward your corporate buddies from other sources than taxing my meager pension.  

  • Statement from Better Choices for VA:

    Governor’s Budget Continues Troubling Cuts Only Trend

    Widening Loopholes and Cutting Critical Investments Rather than Investing in the Future

    RICHMOND – Governor McDonnell’s budget continues a cuts only approach to dealing with Virginia’s current challenges. Rather than reform costly loopholes baked into our tax code, the Governor proposes to widen them.

    Loopholes like the long term care insurance tax credit, the domestic production deduction, the private school tax credit, the research and technology tax credit, and the small business tax credit merely continue down the same tired path of more cuts and loopholes.

    A recent JLARC study estimated the costs of loopholes at $12.6 billion annually.

    New loopholes and the failure to reform the scores of inefficient loopholes already on the books, combined with further cuts to education and healthcare represents the wrong choice for Virginia.

  • From the Commonwealth Institute:

    December 19, 2011

    Governor Punts on Tough Decisions

    *** Statement from Michael Cassidy, President, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, on Governor McDonnell’s biennial budget ***

    The Governor is trying to take the easy way out of a tough situation. Instead of making the investments to create jobs and help our economy grow over the long haul, he has chosen to punt.

    The Governor’s budget ignores the costs of education and passes them down to localities.

    The budget ignores known health care costs and passes down Medicaid cuts to doctors, nurses, and hospitals that will make it harder for Virginians to get medical care.

    The budget opens even more costly tax loopholes that take resources away from education, public safety and other building blocks of a strong economy.

  • rexsimmons

    Pre-school is one of the most cost effective methods for improving the performance of school children.  Many studies have shown the advantages of early childhood learning of such things as recognizing the alphabet and counting.  In addition, pre-school teaches children what to expect in school like being around other students, following the leadership of a teacher, and going through the day with a routine.  Pre-school is especially beneficial to children who come from family backgrounds that have shown tendencies for lower achievement, such as lower income families and immigrant families.

    Unfortunately many conservatives disparage pre-school with comments suggesting that young children should be with their mothers instead of being in pre-school.  Never mind that the vast majority of mothers work outside the home these days.  And never mind the number of children now raised by a single parent who must also work.  Some conservatives also argue that pre-school amounts to nothing more than free daycare, despite the proven advantages for life long learning capabilities.  I can’t read Bob McDonnell’s mind, but many of his supporters subscribe to these absurd ideas.