December 15, 2006
Governor Tim Kaine presented his proposal for the second half of the two year state budget to the General Assembly Friday.
The proposal focuses on how to spend the one billion dollar surplus,concentrating on two main issues; transportation funding and tax cuts.
Kaine wants half of the surplus to go towards transportation.
He said the 500 million dollars will give a quick boost to rail and road projects but it's just a temporary fix.
The governor said the state needs a sustainable revenue stream for transportation, but he didn't elaborate on what that would be.
Last session, the Republican legislature butted heads with Kaine, who wanted to raise taxes for transportation.
The second half of his proposal would decrease the chances of a large surplus in the future by giving income tax cuts to the poorest Virginians.
Delegate David Toscano thinks this budget will pass on time, unlike last year, because it is an election year and because the extra money is being spent wisely.
"It makes sense to strategically invest that surplus in things like transportation, and cleaning up the Chesapeake bay, and also do what we can to return a portion of that surplus to the people that helped created it--the tax payers," said the delegate. "And I think that is what Governor Kaine is trying to do with his proposal."
Kaine also proposed, more than 100 million dollars, in additional spending for health care and mental health.
He also wants pay increases for teachers to match the three percent raises already in the budget for state employees.
The General Assembly will start hammering out the details of the budget when the session begins January 10th.