Sunday, June 13, 2021
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Tag: Virginia budget impasse

Another General Assembly, Another GOP Budget Failure

Here we go again. For the third time in the past twelve years, a Republican-controlled legislature has ended its regular session without a budget. Since budgets cover a two-year period, that means that half the time since the millennium legislators have bickered, blustered and delayed the most important function of state government.

In 2004, Mark Warner faced a fiscal train wreck after his Republican predecessor Jim Gilmore had gotten his unfunded "no car tax" through the Republican-controlled legislature. The state simply didn't have the money to reimburse localities for lost revenue from the car tax. The mere mention of a tax increase got a hysterical response from GOP legislators. It took a special session for Warner and a few GOP moderates in the State Senate to finally get revenue increases and a budget. Of course, the upshot of that was those moderate Republicans got "purged" in primaries, helping to create the partisan insanity that is contemporary Virginia governance.

In 2006, after the Republican-controlled General Assembly once again failed to pass a budget, Democrat Tim Kaine called for a special session that continued until that June. GOP intransigence brought the state to a near shutdown of government by an impasse caused by what has become a familiar unresolved crisis in the state, how to fund necessary transportation projects.

This year, the hot-heads in Richmond focused like a laser on what they obviously thought was most important: abortion, contraception, and attacks on public school teachers. Result: no budget.