News From Richmond – March 16, 2012

Progress on State Budget as Session Draws to a Close

This week, the focus continued to be on the ongoing budget impasse. Some progress was made as House Budget Conferees met with both Republican and Democrat members of the Senate Finance Committee to begin to work out the budget differences between the two chambers. Senate Democrats finally participating in the budget process is a promising sign.
I am hopeful the meetings over the past few days will help pave the way for the Senate to use the House budget as a start point for a final budget. When comparing the House and the proposed Senate budget that did not pass on the Senate floor, it is clear that the differences are not as large as they have been in prior years. This is a promising sign that, if other considerations among the Senate Democrats are set aside, we will be able to reach a budget agreement in a timely manner- even if that means that the agreement is not made until after the Session has adjourned. Some challenges remain as Senate Democrats earlier in the week released a list of proposed programs they want to fund, adding approximately $450 million in new spending without cuts to other areas to balance the budget.

Capitol Visitors Come to Urge Passage of the Budget

The budget clearly has become the focus of many Virginians around the Commonwealth, and many groups came to the Capitol this week or wrote letters urging the passage of a budget. Some of the groups that visited or wrote letters include veterans groups, law enforcement departments, local government officials, and local chambers of commerce. As I said last week, our schools, local governments, and police need us to produce a budget in a timely fashion. I believe that these important visits have also made every Delegate and Senator acutely aware of the consequences of not passing a budget in a timely manner.

In Closing
As this Session came to a close on March 10th, I would like to thank everyone who visited me in Richmond and everyone who called or emailed me to share his or her opinion. Your guidance and support helps me to effectively serve as your voice in the House of Delegates. While we have done our best to answer every letter and email during the session, we have not been able to respond to everyone and will be working on replies until everyone has received a response. I will also be out speaking with the many organizations in the district that have invited me to give them a post session report. Finally, I would like to thank my staff for all of their hard work throughout the Session. They do a lot of heavy lifting around the office and help me to serve you to the best of my ability.

Links of Interest
Marine Resources Director Retires
Director, VMS Retires

Contact Me
As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 277-9801 or via the Internet at Email me here.

Keith

March 20, 2012 |