Kaine: Next round of budget cuts to be tough

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Gov. Timothy M. Kaine told the Senate and House’s money committees Monday that the current budget shortfall may require cutting money from core services such as education and transportation. Kaine said he would not know the full extent of the shortfall until October, but many lawmakers are predicting it will reach $1 billion. The state’s two-year, $77 billion budget predicted sales tax revenues would increase 4.9 percent in the current fiscal year, but the growth has been less than 1 percent in the last four months. Income tax collected by the state was expected to grow 6.4 percent, but is only growing by about 1.6 percent. (The Washington Post)

High gas prices have slowed the economy in Hampton Roads. While employment, port activity and wages have increased, tourism and consumer spending has dropped. Hotel revenue has dropped 4.4 percent and consumer spending on nonessential goods has dropped 24 percent. (Daily Press

The Washington Post reports that the Kaine administration has surpassed its goal of awarding state contracts to small, women- and minority-owned companies. But a review shows that most of those contracts are given to companies owned by white men. (The Washington Post)

Falls Church defense contractor General Dynamics has announced it will purchase Zurich, Switzerland-based Jet Aviation for about $2.25 billion. The deal is expected to close by 2008 and immediately add to the company’s earnings. (News release)

For the Record

Wigwam Crossing, a planned Hanover County shopping center located in a spot formerly occupied by a landmark restaurant, will open in 2009. The 33,000-square-foot facility will feature retail shops and restaurants for commuters in the Ashland area. The Wigwam restaurant, built in the 1930s, attracted attention with its decorated 10-foot wigwam and remained a popular destination until the late 1960s. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

American of Martinsville, a furniture manufacturer, laid off 20 employees in its corporate office because of plans to move its casegoods division overseas. The workers included office staff and some management positions. The company previously announced plans to move production of wood furniture abroad and lay off about 400 workers at its Martinsville plant. The latest layoffs were not included in the original layoff announcement. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Alion Science and Technology, a McLean-based technology company, received a $12.5 million contract over five years, including options, from the Environmental Protection Agency to support specialized clean air and environment audits. Alion will assist the EPA in testing and verifying the accuracy of instrumentation used to analyze air samples taken nationally to monitor and verify clean air standards. (Business Wire)

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