Before the General Assembly returns to Richmond and decides how to spend Virginians’ tax dollars, the public has a chance to give its two cents to state lawmakers.
Members of the legislature’s budget-writing committees will fan out across the state Friday for regional public hearings on the state budget. The sessions include a noon hearing at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke. The local hearing will be held in the Business Science Building, Whitman Theater, at 3094 Colonial Ave., SW.
Gov. Bob McDonnell last month proposed amendments to the two-year, $86.5 billion state budget, attempting to direct additional state revenue toward some of his top priorities heading into the final year of his term. The governor’s proposed changes would result in a net general fund spending increase of $215.1 million for the two-year period ending June 30, 2014.
Among other things, McDonnell McDonnell recommended spending $14.3 million to open the 1,024-bed facility near Independence in January 2014. The prison was completed in 2010, but has remained unused largely because of budget constraints.
McDonnell also has asked lawmakers to eliminate a budget-balancing gimmick that requires localities to return a portion of the aid they receive from the state. And he wants to shift $48.1 million from the state’s general fund — which pays for services such as education, public safety and health care — to transportation.
The General Assembly’s 46-day session begins Jan. 9.
– Michael Sluss