Tuesday, March 6, 2012

County leaders urge Virginia senators to pass a budget

RICHMOND (March 6, 2012)–The Virginia Association of Counties called on state senators to meet their constitutional obligation by passing a budget that serves the needs of the Commonwealth’s citizens.

VACo held a press conference Tuesday and urged Virginia senators to engage in meaningful dialogue that would lead to the passage of a FY 2012-2014 state budget.

“We stand here to ask that (Virginia senators) avoid an impasse,” VACo President and Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the press conference. “Our members, large and small, are depending on them. For many, their existence really depends on them. VACo is committed to protecting the reliability of a sustainable Commonwealth.

That’s what we do every day. But we do it in partnership (with the state).” William Kyger, Jr., Rockingham County Supervisor and former VACo President (2008); William Robertson, Prince George County Supervisor and James Campbell, VACo Executive Director, also spoke at the press conference.

County leaders stressed the importance of a state budget for localities and cited critical deadlines such as May 1 for teacher contracts and June 30 for local budgets and establishing the tax rate.

“We recognize legislating is a difficult task,” Campbell said. “Legislating requires compromise. Compromise requires negotiation. Negotiation requires give and take. That’s give and take from both sides of the aisle. Negotiation requires sitting down and talking with each other and not at each other. Without talking with each other, we can’t negotiate, we can’t compromise and we can’t adopt a state budget.”

Kyger, who teaches government at Turner Ashby High School in Rockingham County, said that as an educator, he’s concerned the state budget impasse would leave teachers wondering if they have a contract.

“It’s a matter of deadlines,” Kyger said. “(Counties) are required by the laws of Virginia to accomplish our budgets by certain dates. I don’t understand why the General Assembly can’t set a date or deadline as well. And they need to do that.

We’re asking them to do nothing more than their constitutional responsibility.”

Robertson spoke about the budget process on the local level. “We don’t know what to do during our budget making process because we don’t know what will come out,” Robertson said. “It’s just like you’re married… and your partner telling you that this is what we’re going to spend this year, but I’m not telling you how much I make. The state is our partner.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Politics, State Politics

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