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McDonnell Calls For Budget Cycle Reform

By Greg L | 28 December 2009 | Virginia Politics | 5 Comments

Sometimes great policy isn’t as sexy as selling off the Commonwealth’s liquor stores or eliminating parole for violent felons.  Often it’s the mundane stuff most of us wouldn’t choose to pay a lot of attention to, but those less headline-grabbing proposals are the ones that make the largest impacts in many cases.  Governor-Elect McDonnell is calling for one of these game-changing reforms today that won’t likely get that much attention, but certainly will make a big difference.

RICHMOND- Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today regarding the need to reform the budget development process in the Commonwealth.

“On Friday, December 18th, Governor Tim Kaine proposed his biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012. The Governor made his proposal with only 28 days left in his single four-year term, carrying out his obligation as determined by our current budgetary calendar. Unfortunately, the current budget development process leads to a situation, repeated every four years, in which the consideration, debate and adoption of one governor’s proposed budget takes place during the Administration of his successor. Thus, one out of every two budgets submitted requires no subsequent accountability or management from the governor who proposed it. The current system also requires a new governor to potentially submit sweeping changes to a budget just days after taking office with limited preparation and input. A sitting governor usually takes many months to analyze and develop a comprehensive state budget. It is likewise burdensome on the General Assembly to have to review and consider the potentially divergent budget recommendations of two governors in such a short period of time.

Regardless of who is governor, or the political parties they represent, such an arrangement does not serve the public’s best interest nor does it create a fiscally prudent planning process. It needs to be reformed.

As Governor, I will propose action be taken to move the budget development process to odd-numbered years, from the current even-numbered year arrangement. Thus an incoming Governor would only make necessary changes to the second year of his predecessor’s budget, and would then be in office for the drafting of two full budgets of his or her own, and would be held fully responsible for the implementation and oversight of those budgets. There is broad support for reform. Governor Kaine and I, as well as key General Assembly leaders, support this change. Governor L. Douglas Wilder’s Commission on Government Efficiency and Effectiveness made this same proposal during the Warner Administration. I have spoken with many business leaders and citizens who support this policy change. It is a non-partisan recommendation that will ensure a much more orderly budget process. As a candidate for Governor I recommended this change as part of the government reform package Lieutenant Governor Bolling and I jointly announced in September.

It is important, especially in tough fiscal times, to continue to look for positive reforms in all areas of government, to make it simpler and more efficient and to get results. This is one which will lead to a smoother budget process for the benefit of all involved. I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to adopt this reform in the near future to begin with submission of a full two-year budget in 2011.”

I can’t believe it took this long to get this moving, but at least Bob McDonnell is following through on the Wilder Commission’s recommendations that have languished through two administrations.

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  1. James Young said on 28 Dec 2009 at 10:31 pm:
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    It’s an agreeable idea … but since it would move power from the General Assembly to the Governor’s office, don’t bet on it.

  2. Dittyman8 said on 29 Dec 2009 at 3:23 am:
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    It beats the ridiculous notion of a new Governor wasting his first half of his term with someone else’s budget. Putting the politics side, how can a new Governor, regardless of party, be able to fulfill a promise under these conditions?

  3. NoVA Scout said on 29 Dec 2009 at 7:09 am:
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    It’s a good idea. The larger problem it illuminates is the one-term governor problem. Virginia’s continuing adherence to this reflects GA/Executive insecurities, but looking at it from the citizens’ interest in good governance, we really need to have a system where a Governor has to think more than a couple of years down the road.

  4. Larryfromstafford said on 30 Dec 2009 at 8:16 am:
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    Good idea. We should have initiated this before Pelosi and Reid began the process of funneling state funds directly to the Feds via all the bailouts and insurance takeovers. There they can ship the money directly to the disfunctional states that are belly up. If the surrender of states rights continues ( thank you Gov. Kaine), we won’t have to worry about a state budget at all.

  5. Groveton said on 1 Jan 2010 at 10:26 am:
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    “I can’t believe it took this long to get this moving…”. At some point we all have to realize that our elected officials are, by and large, idiots. The General Assembly is grossly incompetent and culpably negligent. Tim Kaine was the worst governor in Virginia history. We need a complete change out of our elected officials.

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