December 15, 2006
Governor Tim Kaine laid out his budget proposal, one that includes significant funding for transportation and tax cuts for low income people.
Speaking before the Senate and House Finance Committees, Kaine set the ground work for what he thinks is a fiscally sound budget, one that will spend on $1 billion surplus of Virginians money.
"I propose to spend $500 million, nearly half of all available funds on targeted transportation enhancements," he said.
Kaine's plan will use the surplus to jump start projects in Northern Virginia and Chesapeake, but it does not outline a long term source of funding. Delegate David Toscano feels that need is necessary.
"We have to figure out a long term plan with a sustainable, reliable source of revenue if we are really going to solve the Commonwealth's transportation plan," he said.
While transportation dominated the proposal, the Governor says education reform, beginning with a teacher pay increase is a necessity and one that his plan includes.
"I propose to increase teacher salaries an additional 1 1/2 percent from the amounts currently in the budget so that we will then align teacher raises with the 3 percent raises that are already in the budget for the entire state work force," Governor Kaine said.
Kaine's proposal also includes a tax cut for 300,000 low income Virginians. It's a cut that Toscano says helps the neediest.
"I think it is going to help folks that are most in need and generate some additional spending in the economy."
The General Assembly will begin to weed through the Governor's proposal and make suggestions of their own when it reconvenes on January 10.