Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine today presented the State Legislature with $4 billion in proposed cuts to the state budget based on the state’s second consecutive year of significant declines in revenue.
In a conference call with regional newspapers, including the News-Press, this morning, Kaine spelled out plans for major cuts that will impact local governments, including cuts to constitutional officers and local school systems. He also proposed ending the state’s subsidy of local personal property taxes (the car tax), offering an option for local governments to opt into receiving a one percent increase in revenues from state income taxes if, in turn, they eliminate the car tax entirely.
The governor also proposed a freeze on new admissions to special Medicaid programs serving mentally and physically challenged, including elderly and Alzheimer victims, and the closing of some free clinics around the commonwealth. He proposed another 670 layoffs of state employees beyond the 1,600 already laid off in the last year, and an overall reduction in employment at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) from 10,600 to 7,600. He said the state will shift the burden for health insurance premiums further onto employees, and said local governments and school systems will have the option of doing the same thing. Despite an 11 percent growth in enrollment, funding for higher education in Virginia will be lower than in 2006, he said, and tuitions will rise.