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County leaders urge Virginia senators to pass a budget

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The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) today urged state senators to pass a budget.

At a Richmond press conference, county leaders stressed the importance of a state budget for localities and cited critical deadlines such as May 1 for teacher contracts and June 30 for setting local budgets and establishing tax rates.

The Senate has failed to pass a budget as the 2012 General Assembly winds down to its final days. The legislative body is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling prevented from casting a tie-breaking vote on budget issues.

Democrats have used the impasse to press demands for power sharing on Senate committees.

“We stand here to ask that [Virginia senators] avoid an impasse,” VACo President and Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the press conference. “Our members, large and small, are depending on them. For many, their existence really depends on them. VACo is committed to protecting the reliability of a sustainable commonwealth. That’s what we do every day. But we do it in partnership (with the state).”

Other officials appearing at the press conference included Rockingham County Supervisor William Kyger Jr., Prince George County Supervisor William Robertson and VACo Executive Director James Campbell.

“It’s a matter of deadlines,” Kyger said. “[Counties] are required by the laws of Virginia to accomplish our budgets by certain dates. I don’t understand why the General Assembly can’t set a date or deadline as well. And they need to do that. We’re asking them to do nothing more than their constitutional responsibility.”

Robertson spoke about the budget process on the local level. “We don’t know what to do during our budget making process because we don’t know what will come out,” Robertson said. “It’s just like you’re married… and your partner telling you that this is what we’re going to spend this year, but I’m not telling you how much I make. The state is our partner.”


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