June 19, 2006
The full Virginia Senate came together around 3 p.m. today and took about two hours to unanimously approve a state budget more than 6 months in the making. It is a $72 billion two year spending plan. The plan took more than three extra months in special session to hash out.
The deal includes a four percent raise for teachers and state employees, nearly $200 million to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the repeal of an estate tax levied on properties valued over $2 million, and a limited amount of money for land conservation easements. What it does not include is a transportation funding plan, the entire reason the Senate and House were deadlocked for so long.
Tomorrow, the House will next review and vote on the measure. From there, it will go to Governor Kaine's desk where he will have about a week to review and recommend vetoes and amendments. All of this to avoid the June 30 fiscal year deadline. If that deadline was passed without budget, it could have led to a government shutdown.
Lawmakers say they will come back in the fall to discuss a comprehensive transportation plan.