McDonnell sells budget amendments to legislators


Gov. Bob McDonnell prepares to address state legislators on Friday.

Gov. Bob McDonnell talked up his proposed amendments to the 2010-2012 state budget to state legislators on Friday.

The focus in his speech to members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations and Finance committees was on job growth. Earlier in the week, McDonnell had unveiled a $54 million program of job-creation and economic-development proposals aimed at growth in the technology sector and in economically-distressed regions in the Commonwealth.

“Our budgetary outlook hinges largely upon the ability of the private sector to create good jobs,” McDonnell said. “Government can make it simpler for entrepreneurs and job creators to invest and expand, or more complicated. We choose the former. I am pleased to say that in our first 11 months together we have made it clear that we are wide open for business, and that Virginia’s state government is a friend of the free market, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and job creators.”

Highlights from the McDonnell proposals:

$150 million to jumpstart the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The money will be coupled with $250 million from the Virginia Department of Transportation audit to put $400 million into the Bank at start, with funding to rise to $1 billion by end of administration. This is part of the governor’s plan to inject $4 billion into transportation over the next three years. Other components include the issuance of $1.1 billion in federal GARVEE Bonds which do not add to state debt capacity and the issuance of up to $1.8 billion in already approved transportation bonds.

$50 Million for higher education geared toward increasing college access and affordability and meeting the goal of awarding 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years in the Commonwealth

$191 million in cuts, savings and reappropriations recommended by the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, providing more state funding for core functions of government focused on job creation and economic development

Reform of Virginia’s Retirement System requiring all state employees to contribute 5 percent to their retirement plans. The reforms will put over $300 million in additional funds into the VRS system in FY 2012 alone and will add $4.2 billion over the next 10 years. The employee contributions will be matched with a 3 percent pay raise.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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