Budget Delay Leaves Local Officials In Limbo
Lynchburg, VA —
Like many officials, the Lynchburg Police Department are in a holding pattern, waiting for the dust to settle in Richmond from last week's intense sessions, where the budget debate ended with it being passed by the General Assembly. The budget now sits on the desk of Governor McAuliffe, who has seven days to sign, veto, or try to amend the budget.
While many are focused on the battle over Medicaid, departments from around the state are focusing on their own finances. With new funding being cut in many departments, the list of things additional funding would have covered continues to grow. According to Lt. Stuart Bowen, new funding for Lynchburg's PD would have covered vehicles, equipment, computers, and salaries, to name a few items.
A projected $1 and a half Billion dollar revenue shortfall forced officials in Richmond to take a harder look at new funding being proposed. Senator Tom Garrett says there's no way that spending increases should have been considered, to begin with, saying "I'm not terribly sure how it is that the Commonwealth of Virginia is able to increase its budget by 13 percent over the last two years, when the rest of the economy is staggering along."
While Garrett says he would have preferred for the budget to be pared down even more, passing a budget on time, he says, was the top priority. "Our choice was to not do our job, that is, not get a budget, or pass this budget, stop Medicaid expansion for the near future, and give the counties, cities, and towns in Virginia the money they need to do what we need them to do."Garrett now hopes that the war of the words between McAuliffe and Republicans can come to an end, and that this budget will get signed soon. A veto, he says, would be a catastrophic mistake for the state of the Virginia.