$91.9 Billion Biennial Budget Has Some Goodies…PolicyPolitics

From the pen of Jeff Schapiro:

Over the past 30 years, the state budget increasingly has become omnibus legislation, a means not just to direct spending — $91.9 billion in the current, two-year fiscal cycle — but to set policy, some of it monumental; some of it mundane. It’s a sign that Virginia’s political class, for all its complaints about the way Washington does business, isn’t above adopting some of its tricks.

But not just anyone in Richmond gets to engage in such gamesmanship.

Indeed not.

Budget clarity, parking spaces, and the Major Economic Investment Commission all fall under scrutity.  To wit:

However, the Major Economic Investment Commission, with four delegates and four senators, has complained it hasn’t sufficient time to vet incentive packages. On one occasion, officials said, members were rankled when told by the state economic-development agency they had only a half-hour to consider a deal targeting an Asian manufacturer.

A House amendment would require that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership submit proposals at least two days ahead of a commission meeting.

Virginia’s biennial budget is often a convoluted and odd process — moreso for those directly affected by that process (read: localities and local education) than others.

Still… it wasn’t so long ago that the Virginia budget was $70 billion.  Or in recent memory, $35 billion.

$91.9 billion divided by 8.1 million Virginians comes to north of $11,000 per Virginian.

Tack on another $1,500 in local taxes and ask yourself — are you getting $12,500 in services from your government?

  • Mike Barrett

    This Governor is not begond creating economic inventtives for his friends based upon the most scurilous of requirements. Leads one to believe the reasons may be politicial rather than economic. But when it comes to largess for his private sector deals, that is where the real money is found.

    But the only legacy that will befall this Governor is that of 20 years of
    intrasigence and failure to sustain our transportation system. This simply
    cannot be reversed with a hail mary in the closing weeks of his last
    legislative session; the damage is simply too great.

    But in a bigger sense, this is proof positive of a larger failure than just
    two decades of lost productivity for transportation. Fact is, Howell and
    McDonnell are proponents of deregulation, small government, and privatization,
    and frankly, those views, proposed forcefully by Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys, has created much suffering at the hands of the incompetence of the republican party.

    Frankly, for thirty years, this philosophy has been the root caused of our
    budget deficits, our divisve politics, and our movement toward a bifurcated
    society. It has led to the disruption of the middle class and the rise of the
    plutocrats and the wealth of the 1%. My sincere hope is that McDonnell’s failure
    will provide more evidence that he and his ideology are not ready for prime time.

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      Come on, Mike. Where do you get this nonsense? You can’t blame Bob McDonnell for the transportation infrastructure issues – he’s done more than any of the last three governors to fix the problem. You can blame the General Assembly for not raising the gas tax, not him.

      • Mike Barrett

        What a hoot! You say we can’t blame McDonnell even though he voted with Howell and the no tax republicans and is part and parcel of what is wrong with our Commonwealth. He ran on a platform based upon farytales, and was only able to borrow money and never bold enough to actually propose how to pay for it. He took all the cream and left our children and grandchildren to do the heavy lifting while he pontificated while he benefitted corporate sponsors and international conglomerates. Frankly, never has one politician appeared to do so much while actually doing so little.

        • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

          Mike, that’s truly ridiculous. Are you honestly advocating that we pay cash for infrastructure investment? Come on. What frustrates me is that you single out McDonnell, yet ignore every one else who has served in the legislature and as Governor for the fact that none of them came anywhere close to what you want to see done, either. If Terry McAulliffe gets elected (which I doubt) are you going to lambast him daily if he doesn’t push through a gas tax hike (assuming we still have it)?

          No, you’ll just blame the Republicans in the House. This argument is getting stale.

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