Budget numbers worsen
General Assembly Report by Rob Bell
One of the General Assembly’s biggest jobs in 2008 is to craft the two-year budget that will begin on July 1.
This year, the economic slowdown – especially in the housing industry – has meant that revenue is $1.4 billion below projections. Although the overall budget is increasing slightly, there will certainly not be enough money for all proposals.
Gov. Kaine has proposed more than $300 million in new spending and programs. Unfortunately, to pay for these new programs, his budget would eliminate $55 million of construction grants and the $165 million of lottery profits dedicated for school building projects.
In Central Virginia, this would result in the following cuts:
– Fluvanna Schools: $889,929.
– Greene Schools: $740,772.
– Albemarle Schools: $1,539,277.
-Orange Schools: -$1,060,995.
Gov. Kaine’s proposals would also cut aid to public universities by 2 percent, which would reduce grants to public colleges and universities by 2 percent. These cuts would likely result in higher tuitions for students.
I believe that in difficult budget times like these, we need to focus on core responsibilities, not expensive new programs. We should not be borrowing or tapping the rainy day fund to pay for new ideas. I will support efforts to restore this funding to local schools.
Local Scout Honored
On a lighter note, this week the General Assembly honored Hunter Walker, a 9-year-old Scout from Fluvanna County. When he was 7, Hunter saw that his 2-year-old sister Josie was choking, and he saved her life by performing the Heimlich maneuver. The House unanimously passed a commending resolution and presented it to him and his family this week.
If you are interested in these or any other bills, they can be found at http://legis.state.va.us.
I can be reached at the General Assembly Building, P.O. Box 406, Richmond, Va. 23218 – 804.698.1058. Del_Bell@house.state.va.us.
Rob Bell represents the 58th House District in the Virginia General Assembly.