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We Won’t Be Fooled Again?

By Greg L | 26 February 2015 | Virginia Politics, Virginia House, Virginia Senate | 5 Comments

When Republican elected officials try to tell you they’re all about conservative fiscal governance, make sure you remind them of what happened in Richmond today.

Today the conference report was released on the amendments to the biennial budget, and lo and behold, the conference report between the Republican controlled Senate of Virginia and the Republican House of Delegates managed to increase state spending far more than either body had initially envisioned.  The compromise additional spending of $750 million beyond last year’s budget and represents a $6.8 million increase over what the Senate proposed, and a $264 million increase over what the House of Delegates passed.  Governor McAuliffe’s proposed budget amendments ‘only’ totaled $684 million, the “Republican” legislature increases this to $750 million and calls it a “cut.”  Yet this is somehow this is “responsible.”

Speaker Bill Howell loves to talk about fiscal responsibility, even when this utter garbage is patently ridiculous on it’s face.

While Washington drowns in deficits and debt, weighed down by partisan gridlock, Republicans in Richmond are painting a stark contrast. Not only have we produced a balanced budget as our Constitution requires, but we have done so ahead of schedule and with greater transparency than any time in recent memory,” said Speaker Howell. “By adopting these budget amendments today, the General Assembly is charting a prudent fiscal course for the remainder of this budget cycle and demonstrating how governing is supposed to work. I thank Chairman Jones, Vice-Chairman Landes, Leader Cox and the entire House Appropriations Committee for their leadership and hard work to get us here today.

It’s such hard work to compromise on how much taxpayer money you’re going to dole out (in some cases to non-governmental entities in violation of the Virginia Constitution) when you’re supposedly “fiscally responsible.”  If “A” wants money in the House, and “B” wants money in the Senate, apparently a “conservative” compromise is to give them both money from the taxpayer.

Let’s see just how many legislators in Richmond have enough guts to vote against the budget amendments because they actually believe in principle.

The numbers don’t lie.

Original Proposed Budget Amendments from Governor McAuliffe: $684,933,761 (General Fund: $103,223,937, Non-General Fund $581,709,824)
HB1400 as passed by House of Delegates: $486,896,416 (General Fund: $379,324,714, Non-General Fund $107,571,702)
HB1400 as passed by Senate: $744,081,727 (General Fund: $422,487,282, Non-General Fund $321,503,445)
HB1400 conference report: $750,919,297 (General Fund: $534,839,701, Non-General Fund $216,079,596)

Gee, we better elect some more Republicans so we can get spending under control in Richmond, right?

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  1. Anonymous said on 26 Feb 2015 at 6:32 pm:
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    Its almost enough to make someone look at Democrats as a viable alternative. Almost.

  2. Anonymous said on 27 Feb 2015 at 9:02 am:
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    Did you ever stop to think that maybe you aren’t a Republican anymore and you need a new party?

  3. Anon said on 27 Feb 2015 at 10:19 am:
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    Do you think the Republican Party has been infiltrated? Have the Republicans simply been bought? They do seem to me to be the flip side of the Big Government coin. Sad.

    Republicans no longer get suuport from this long time Republican voter. They need to figure out who they are. . .

  4. Jack Slimp said on 27 Feb 2015 at 11:12 am:
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    First, let me say my following remarks are not meant to justify or decry what our legislature has done with the budget.

    For several years, I was a Program-Budget Officer at the Pentagon in charge of around 60% of a $350 million Operations & Maintenance Appropriation of the Army Reserve. Budget figures and “cutting” can be multifaceted.

    Just one example ——
    Let’s say, that in year 2000, a project was approved that would cost as follows:
    Year 2002 = $10M for new roads bridges and bridges.
    Year 2003 = $15M for new roads bridges and bridges.
    Year 2004 = $20M for new roads bridges and bridges.
    These future years are “program” years or “program-budget” years, but the project is approved and possibly contracted.
    Then in year 2001, you are faced with the upcoming budget year of 2002.
    An additional $10M has obviously been programmed for the budget for 2002; it is expected to be part of the actual 2002 budget, because the program for new roads bridges and bridges has already been approved, including the cost.
    When the 2002 budget is submitted for final approval, perhaps “new roads bridges and bridges” is cut by $2M in order to comply with overall spending limitations.
    So then some say there was a budget cut of $2M. But it is nonetheless an increase of $8M over 2001.
    COLA increases are another element that can be an issue, and so can various price increases (gas, electricity, etc.)

    The example is truly an over-simplification of the process, and, admittedly I am not much familiar with how the Commonwealth sets the ground rules for its budget.
    My point is that the figures and machinations of the budget are not easy to analyze without delving deeply into the justification process of the creation of each item.

    It is easy to look at the bottom line and say, “Hey, we are spending more this year than last year.”
    But are there more people now in Virginia? Are more resources required? Is the budget balanced?

    Frankly, I am of the persuasion that the less government the better, so again, my comments are simply food for thought.

  5. Greg L said on 4 Mar 2015 at 5:14 pm:
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    One computer, three different IP addresses, all posting on this thread like a sock puppet. Whoever’s doing this, you think I wouldn’t notice?

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