McDonnell Lays Out State Budget Revisions

Richmond, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell says the state's finances will slightly improve over the next year and a half. He presented several budget revisions to the General Assembly on Friday morning.

The amendments McDonnell presented to the General Assembly Friday forecast an additional $337 million in revenue through June of 2012.

That revision reflects general revenue growth of 3.5 percent for the rest of the current fiscal year, up from an original 2.6 percent forecast.

McDonnell expects revenues to grow by 5 percent for the fiscal year starting next July 1.

McDonnell's budget also anticipates $191 million in savings recommended by a commission he named to recommend belt-tightening reforms.

The general fund covers core state services such as education, public safety and health care.

Below are details of the proposed revisions.

Gov adds money for CSBs; fed eases Medicaid bite

Local mental health centers would receive about $11.4 million more to help people with behavioral health crisis situations in Gov. Bob McDonnell's new budget.

The governor also asked the General Assembly on Friday to provide about $2 million to keep a 20-bed geriatric unit at the Southwest Virginia Mental Health Center in Marion open.

Other health care highlights of the governor's budget include about $75 million in additional spending for the state's share of Medicaid by June of 2012.

It's an amount that would have been much higher if not for Congress approving a six-month extension of federal matching funds for Medicaid.

Medicaid covers health care for low-income families with children, the needy, the blind and disabled.

Gov puts first $150 million in infrastructure bank

Gov. Bob McDonnell is using money left over from last year's budget to create a transportation bank to help finance stalled local projects.

McDonnell initially announced plans for a Transportation Infrastructure Bank in September.

On Friday, he asked legislators to draw the first $150 million in funding from unspent balances and budget savings.

The bank was created as a way to take money from McDonnell's proposed sale of state government's liquor monopoly and use the proceeds to offer low-interest loans to localities for highway projects.

The bank is part of a $4 billion transportation financing plan that McDonnell outlined last week. McDonnell proposes to borrow about $3 billion of that total.

Va Gov's budget offers plums for business

Businesses are among the biggest winners in budget revisions Gov. Bob McDonnell is presenting to Virginia legislators.

The Republican governor has about $54 million worth of tax credits, exemptions and spending discretion to encourage employers to locate or expand in Virginia.

McDonnell was elected a year ago largely on the promise of aggressive job recruitment and development.

The governor is doubling the annual equipment depreciation allowance businesses can claim on their taxes.

There's $10 million in sales tax exemptions for three major corporate data storage centers in the state, including Microsoft's new investment in Mecklenberg County.

McDonnell's proposals were contained in budget amendments presented Friday to lawmakers.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP 12-17-10 0935EST