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.”