Legislature returns monies through savings

Edited by Chris Graham

The Virginia General Assembly’s Joint Rules Committee, consisting of seven members of the Virginia House of Delegates and seven members of the Senate of Virginia and chaired by William J. Howell, speaker of the House of Delegates, met yesterday and approved $3.3 million in legislative branch savings for the current fiscal year 2010 budget that ends on June 30.

In addition to these funds, the Senate of Virginia has returned $560,000 in legislative savings to the state’s general fund while the Virginia House of Delegates has returned over $1.1 million. In all, over $4.9 million in FY 2010 legislative spending cuts and savings are being returned to state coffers.

“Just as Virginia taxpayers, families and businesses continue struggling to make ends meet and balance their finances due to the stubborn and lingering effects of the economic recession so, too, are elected representatives of the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-led House sharing in belt tightening to reduce state government spending,” said Speaker Howell. “Last month, the House saved over $35,000 from a furlough day and previously announced $1.1 million was being returned to the general fund by the end of this current fiscal year. These latest savings continue needed legislative efforts to reduce the cost of state government to Virginia taxpayers wherever possible.”

“The action taken yesterday by the Joint Rules Committee is a continued commitment to fiscal responsibility on the part of the legislature,” said Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. “During these tough economic times, we must all continue to explore cost reductions. In addition to these funds, the Senate has returned $560,000.00 in savings to the general fund.

Since 2003, Virginia has improved its national rankings – dropping from 40th to 46th in the nation in per capita spending on its legislature, while remaining the 12th largest state in population. This data is compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). For the current fiscal year (2010), the budget for the General Assembly and all legislative agencies is less than one-half of one percent – or 0.46% – of the total General Fund budget of $14.8 billion.

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