McDonnell and Bolling demonstrate leadership on budget; will Kaine, Deeds and Moran follow?

As you are well aware by now, the commonwealth is some $2-3 billion in the hole because Jody Wagner, former Secretary of Finance and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, forgot to carry “the one”. Regardless of how we got here though, now is time for state “leaders” to demonstrate what they’re made of.

You can get no clearer picture on how government should respond than by looking at the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

Both the AG and LG have slashed their budgets: The AG by 9.1% over the biennium and the LG by 7.5% next year.

“These are difficult times. This economic downturn, and sustained uncertainty, is forcing Virginia families and businesses to make hard decisions, and Virginia’s government must do likewise,” said Attorney General Bob McDonnell, candidate for governor in 2009. “As the Governor determines what budget cuts to order by executive action I have taken this proactive step. Our office has cut our general fund budget by 9.1%, totaling nearly $3.8 million, and increasing our total budget cuts over the past two years to 14.1%. Also, I have returned my official state car, and reduced my salary by 2%.”

Bolling said that while his budget cut won’t significantly impact reducing the shortfall, actions speak louder than words.

“As Lieutenant Governor, I have been a consistent advocate for controlled state spending and keeping government focused on its core responsibilities,” Lieutenant Governor Bolling said. “Certainly tough decisions lie ahead. However, these challenges also present us with an opportunity to look for further efficiencies in state government and implement other strategies to assure that we are spending the taxpayers’ money more effectively.”

Now that the AG and LG have demonstrated their leadership, will Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) be able to convince Majority Leader Saslaw to spend the taxpayers’ money more wisely? Or how about Del. Brian Moran (D-Alexandria)? Will he be able to lead his party to work with House Republicans at coming up with a balanced budget? Will these two Democrats, who want to be your next governor, be able to match the will of McDonnell and Bolling?

Of course, we need not worry about what Jody Wagner would do: She obviously would just round down. And as for the governor, since he has all sorts of free time on his hands now that he wasn’t selected for VP by Sen. Barack Obama, maybe he’ll actually take a look at the budget this time.

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