The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Virginia’s localities are bracing for more budget cuts and even less support from the state government. With Governor McDonnell still unable to find funding, he is continuing to shirk responsibility and pass the burden from the state down to the local level. Chesterfield is one such locality:
“Education funding is especially worrisome to Chesterfield officials, who don’t know what to expect from McDonnell and the General Assembly.
County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier said, ‘The biggest vulnerability we have is the apparent failure of the commonwealth to find solutions to its fiscal difficulties, and the tendency of the commonwealth to shift their budget problems to the local level.’
For example, localities are wary about state discussion of possibly requiring counties to maintain their secondary roads, using money from state maintenance funds for cities and towns.
And they’re concerned about funding of the retirement plan for teachers, which has dropped below 60 percent in its funded status as the state deferred hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions last year in order to balance the budget.”
The Sun Gazette shares that communities like Arlington are preparing for major cuts to transportation funding. Arlington stands to lose $9.2 million in transportation dollars if McDonnell’s cuts go through. The Sun Gazette explains:
“The McDonnell administration is considering seeking legislative approval to change the formula for payments to localities that own and maintain their own streets. Arlington is one of two counties that would be affected – Henrico is the other – and most of the commonwealth’s cities also would find themselves impacted.
The proposed formula would give localities annual payments of $25,600 per lane-mile of primary roads and $5,000 per lane-mile of other streets. Currently, Arlington receives $16,896 for all lane-miles, no matter the type.”
Unfortunately, McDonnell is passing the buck on hard financial decisions down to localities more and more frequently. His newest round of budget cuts will simply pass the burden again. These budget gimmicks arereminiscent of Governor Gilmore’s financial antics. They are not in line with the good governance Virginians deserve, nor the sustainable solutions our Commonwealth needs.