On a 20-19 party line vote, the Senate has killed the House version of the budget. In a press release, Speaker Bill Howell had this to say:
“I was disappointed to hear that Senate Democrats killed the House budget this afternoon. Chairman Putney and the entire House Appropriations Committee worked untold hours, with Republicans and Democrats, to produce a fiscally sound budget that also provides the services important to Virginians. Since the Senate Democrats voted to kill their own budget last week, the General Assembly no longer has a budget to act on.”
“For me and my colleagues in the House of Delegates, it is frustrating to see our hard work rejected in the Senate. Even more distressing is the reality that Senate Democrats did not reject the Senate and House budgets based on policy. Rather, Senate Democrats are making a political power play over committee assignments.”
“Such maneuvering is not befitting of the General Assembly. House and Senate conferees should be starting work tomorrow finalizing the financial blueprint that will guide the Commonwealth through the end of FY 2014. I join my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate in urging the Senate Democrat Caucus to work together towards a budget solution.”
So there you have it, Virginia: there is no two-year state budget.
And all because Senate Democrats want power.
Not because they think the commonwealth’s spending priorities should be different, or even because taxes may not be high enough to meet some of those demands.
But because they want, more than anything else, to have more committee seats and chairman’s gavels.