Budget Flops (Round 1)

The Senate Democrats today kicked off the beginning of a process — the process to re-balance the structure of the Senate so that it reflects the Senate membership and the Commonwealth’s actual voting population.

For the past six weeks, we’ve had a 20-20 Senate which has functioned under the optical illusion of “majority” and “minority” caucuses.  As a result, we’ve had the flood tide of legislation (mandatory ultrasound, “personhood,” etc) which is usually reserved for the House alone, where the R’s have a 2-1 advantage.  Historically, those House bills have died in the Senate, even when it was Republican majority.

This year the applecart officially overturned.  The result has been like a car running on three wheels.  When that’s the case, you pull over and make a change.

Today the Senate failed to pass its budget.  Now there are a lot of organic reasons for voting “no” on the Senate budget (#1 in my book is its use of $68M from the national mortgage settlement  for a one-time state employee bonus).   There are also reasons to vote “yes” such as the Senate’s restoration of funds for K-12 education.

However, the real reason the Senate Budget must lose — at this point — is so the power balance in Richmond can be adjusted and the national embarrassment can end.

With both sides and the Governor facing a fiscal year with no State Budget, the need to compromise will be intense.  Part of that intensity must perforce drive the Senate Republicans to accept an even division on Committees (especially Courts of Justice and Education and Health, where so many key decisions are made).

With the committees adjusted to reflect the actual make-up of the Senate, we can get back to the real business of Virginia and leave the recent foolishness behind.

There’s no need for this process to take a long time.  It can start tomorrow.  In the meantime, we won’t have a budget … yet.

There are several more rounds to go.




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  • isophoroneblog

    Of course, gerrymandering the districts so the Senate would not reflect the actual Senate vote of Virginia (60% Republican) was not any kind of “foolishness.” Yeah, right.

  • Tbailsh

    No state budget. Big deal.

    There’s a requirement to complete redistricting in a certain period too.

  • DJRippert

    The Democrats can easily overplay their hand here. You believe the people of Virginia are “up in arms” over the Republicans in the General Assembly because some jack-wagon comedians on late night TV tell some jokes? Don’t be silly. The people of Virginia are “up in arms” over our state government as a whole. The Democrats have plenty of dirty laundry to add to the clothes line of state government embarrassments. To wit:

    The gerrymandering of the state as described in the two comments posted below this one.

    Tim Kaine losing track of $1B in transportation funds as he closed public restrooms due to a lack of money.

    The Democrats in the Senate voting with their campaign contributors rather than their constituents in trying to block a bill that would deny state funds to contracts with mandatory PLA language.

    Co-sponsoring SB1188 which appears designed solely to give a single company a tax break. The fact that the Democratic co-sponsor of that bill has been hired as a PR man for that favored company only makes the State Senate’s behavior more deplorable.

    Failure to get HB600 out of committee. The bill would have reorganized representation of the Commonwealth Transportation Board to reflect today’s population in Virginia rather than the population that existed in 1932 as is presently the case.

    Play gridlock games with the budget if you like, However, your belief that these games will help the incumbent Democratic politicians in the state legislature is a stretch. From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street Americans are getting very sick and very tired of politics as usual. This year’s General Assembly session has, so far, been an absolute embarrassment. A protracted gridlock game over the budget will only cause Virginians to think even less of the state government – regardless of which political party is to blame.

  • Chap Petersen

    True enough that anyone can overplay their hand. Democrats are no better (or worse) at governing without abusing that power. I’ll just say what I said before — the last vote is the one that counts. And we have miles to go before we sleep (As for HB 600, check out my SB 161 — which was also carried over. That will pass next year, once we have the CD’s determined).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Bethea/1425611195 Larry Bethea

    The national embarrassment is the Democrats that refuse to follow the “Rule of Law”. This is not the first time there has been a even split in the Virginia Senate! Look it up, the Law is very clear and the Attorney General has already schooled the Senate Democrats on the LAW! So now the Democrats want to whimper and cry, sad, truly sad that these people were elected, swore an oath to follow the law and now want to violate the Law. Then again President Obama has become a great example!