State Budgets 2012: Virginia



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 11, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Biennial (for example, FY 2011 & 2012)

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


Official budget documents, 2012:

5/5/12: Governor McDonnell Submits Budget Amendments

Last night, Governor Bob McDonnell submitted his amendments to the budget passed by the General Assembly during the 2012 special session, meeting his agreed-upon seven-day deadline for reviewing the delayed budget bill. The governor sent in $43.9 million in budget amendments prior to the midnight deadline for executive action.

Read more: Governor's press release, May 5, 2012

4/23/12: Va. budget provides more for higher ed, nothing for pregnancy prevention

Now that the General Assembly has finally passed a two-year, $85 billion state budget, politicians and interest groups have started picking through the details to celebrate what they like and decry what they don’t.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell issued a news release Monday trumpeting the $230 million in new state funds for higher education.

While higher education came out ahead in the budget, funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs was eliminated.

NARAL blamed McDonnell, who did not provide money for pregnancy prevention in his proposed budget. But McDonnell was not the only person who had a hand in that decision. The Senate restored $455,000 for pregnancy prevention in its budget plan, but House and Senate budget negotiators zeroed out that money.

Read more: Washington Post

4/18/12: Virginia Senate approves budget

The Virginia Senate passed a state budget Wednesday afternoon as two senators took U-turns — one figuratively, one literally.

The Senate voted 21-19 for the budget after Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) had a change of heart and voted for the two-year, $85 billion spending plan that he’d voted against on Tuesday.

Although Colgan had been pushing Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) for $300 million to extend Metrorail to Dulles International Airport and had said the governor had not come through with funding, he said Wednesday he had simply come to the conclusion that the need to pass a state budget outweighed the need to secure funding for the project.

Read more: Washington Post

4/17/12: A month behind schedule, Virginia Senate kills state budget again

Update, 5:55 p.m.: The equally divided Senate killed a two-year, $85 billion state budget late Tuesday after all 20 Democrats voted down the spending plan for the third time.

“It’s not my intention to drag this out,” Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said. “We’re not finished yet.’’

Failure to pass a budget by July 1, the start of the fiscal year, could result in a partial government shutdown for the first time in Virginia history.

Update, 4 p.m.: The Republican-led House of Delegates approved a two-year $85 billion state budget on a vote of 77-19.

Read more: Washington Post

4/10/12: Rancor reigned at 2012 General Assembly

From protests, arrests and flame-throwing floor speeches to late-night talk show mockery and a bitter budget impasse, 2012's General Assembly session will not go down as the finest hour for the New World's oldest legislative body.

Even as legislators prepare to vote on an $85 billion, two-year budget on April 17 — more than a month behind schedule — the legacy of this year's annual legislative gathering is beginning to take shape.

Read more: Richmond Times-Dispatch

4/6/12: Defiant Saslaw takes toll on Virginia budget agreement

Virginia budget negotiators have agreed on a new two-year, $85 billion spending plan, but the Senate's leading Democrat said Thursday his party would not deliver the necessary votes to pass it.

Senate Democrats had pushed for additional money for toll relief in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which was not included in a final report by a conference committee charged with reconciling versions of the budget passed by the House and by the Senate last month.

“You ain’t got 21 votes in the Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat, said during a tense meeting Thursday afternoon. “Not now, not next week, not next month, not in June. That’s the way it is.”

Read more: Washington Times

4/3/12: Va. budget negotiators hope to make deal by the end of the week

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R-James City) was spotted in a Capitol Square office building Tuesday morning dressed not in his usual, natty business attire, but in a pink polo shirt and sweater vest.

Fellow negotiators have said that they are aiming to reach a deal for a two-year, $85 billion budget by the end of this week. That would allow the General Assembly, which failed to pass a spending plan before adjourning is regular session March 10, to vote on the plan when it reconvenes for its veto session April 18.

Read more: Washington Post

3/27/12: A dozen lawmakers begin formal talks over reconciling Va House, Senate differences over budget

The final shape of Virginia’s budget is now officially in the hands of senior legislators.

A dozen budget conferees — six senators and six House members — will huddle privately for the next few days in legislative office suites on Capitol Square reconciling House and Senate versions of the budget.

“Now it’s down to some manageable items,” said House Republican Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, a House conferee, adding that both sides still had disagreements.

Read more: Washington Post

3/26/12: Va. Senate passes its version of the next state budget despite rejecting ultrasound funding

Virginia’s Senate on Monday approved a new budget to fund state operations for the next two years, something that it failed to do during its regular session.

The 35-4 vote came after the Senate, on an almost party-line vote, rejected a Democratic amendment that would have compelled either insurance companies or the state to pay the costs of pre-abortion ultrasound exams that Monday’s passage now sets up negotiations with the House of Delegates to resolve differences over several conflicting spending priorities and ideologies in an $85-billion spending blueprint.

Read more: Washington Post

3/22/12: Virginia state budget standoff ends

Virginia’s partisan budget standoff came to a close Thursday, the second day into a special General Assembly session, as Republicans and Democrats on a Senate committee unanimously agreed to shift tens of millions of dollars toward schools, Medicaid and toll relief, and to borrow $300 million more for the Metro-to-Dulles rail project.

The full Senate is expected to reconvene Monday to vote on the plan. It is expected to clear the Senate and be rejected on Tuesday in the more conservative House. It would then move to a conference committee, where negotiators from both parties and both chambers would try to come to an agreement.

Read more: Washington Post

3/16/12: Divisive legislative session comes to a close

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned Saturday after having passed about 1,600 bills but failing to pass one key piece of legislation — the state budget for the next two years.

Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Richmond next week to resume work on the budget during a special session and try to iron out differences about spending on education and other core state services.

Read more:

3/9/12: In appeal for partisan comity, Colgan admonishes Dems and GOP, and may force Va budget accord

In an extraordinary personal appeal that could herald a turning point for Virginia’s stalemated budget, Democratic Sen. Chuck Colgan admonished the evenly split Senate, especially his own party, to restrain partisan hostilities and realistically negotiate a new plan to fund state government for the next two years.

Read more: The Washington Post

3/8/12: Virginia hits budget impasse as legislative deadline looms

Virginia lawmakers are expected to go home Saturday without passing a budget after weeks of political wrangling dashed repeated efforts to advance a spending plan before the legislative session ran out.

It's not the first time the clock has expired on the General Assembly before it could approve a budget, but the gap between what Democrats want and what Republicans are willing to concede is so great, it is unclear of when -- or if -- lawmakers will be able to strike a deal.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, meaning lawmakers still have months to hammer out a budget that funds schools, police, roads and state agencies. It took weeks after the 2004 and 2006 sessions to pass a budget, with no real negative effect.

Still, never has the legislature come so close to the deadline without at least holding meetings between House and Senate budget negotiators, who usually work out differences between the spending plans each chamber proposes.

Before negotiators can meet, however, each chamber has to approve a budget, and the Senate so far hasn't.

Read more: Washington Examiner

3/2/12: Budget deadlock intensifies in Virginia legislature

Virginia's legislative session, scheduled to end next week, instead is entering uncharted territory as Democrats and Republicans fight over the state budget with no clear end in sight.

Read more: Stateline

3/1/12: Va. House introduces third state budget

On Thursday, the House of Delegates introduced a third two-year $85 billion budget.

The move came after the Virginia Senate killed two previous budgets after all 20 Democrats voted against the spending plans.

Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said he expects the appropriations committee to approve the budget Thursday afternoon. The full House would debate the budget Friday and it would head to the Senate on Monday.

Read more: Washington Post

2/29/12 Stanley: Budget stalemate could result in shutdown

State Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County) said that the stalemate over the state budget in the Virginia Senate is a "dispute over politics, not policy" or money. The Senate's budget proposal contains many spending initiatives proposed and sponsored by Democrats, Stanley said. But the Democrats are refusing to approve the budget until committee memberships are changed so Democrats can have more members on the Senate committees.  Because the Senate is split 20-20 between Republicans and Democrats, the budget cannot be approved unless at least one Democratic senator votes for it. The state constitution prohibits Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling from breaking a tie on the state budget.

Read more: Franklin News Post

2/23/12 Virginia Senate fails to pass state budget

The Virginia Senate failed to pass the state’s two-year, $85 billion budget Thursday afternoon after all Democrats voted against the bill in a dispute over power-sharing.

The Senate voted 20-17 for the budget plan but 21 votes — a majority of those elected to the 40-member body — were required for passage.

Read more: Washington Post

12/19/11 Virginia Governor Unveils $84.9B Budget Proposal

Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is presenting a new two-year budget proposal today that reflects his priorities in these lean times.

McDonnell wants to trim nearly $259 million in higher hospitalization costs and slash more than $65 million in nursing home inflation adjustments, all from Virginia's share of the federal-state Medicaid program. He's also targetting $110 million in subsidies to retain non-classroom employees, mostly in Northern Virginia public school districts.  Public school spending would get an overall increase of $438 million, tied mostly to instructional purposes.

The budget also includes the $2.2 billion boost to the state's retirement system that was announced last week, which is said to be underfunded by as much as $20 billion.

Read more: WAMU (includes a 12-page summary from the Governor's Office)


Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles


Official budget documents, 2011:

2/28/11: Legislature approves budget, adjourns

Legislators made amendments to the state's two-year, $32 billion general-fund budget that pays for services such as education, health care and public safety. This session reversed a course of having to make cuts in recent years, as lawmakers had some extra money to spend.

Read more: Richmond Times Dispatch