Kaine’s plan would raise cigarette tax, cut Medicaid and education

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Gov. Timothy M. Kaine proposed Wednesday a plan to double the cigarette tax and make major cuts to fill a $2.9 billion hole in the biennial budget.

Both public education and Medicaid, which had exempt from previous budget cuts, would lose almost $400 million each under the programs. State government jobs will also be slashed, losing 530 state workers in addition to the 570 who were laid off in October.

Following are some of Kaine’s key proposals:

-Saving $340 million by capping state contributions for support personnel at one per every 4.03 instructional personnel
-Cutting $27.5 million from the general fund for school construction grants
-Diverting $55 million in Lottery funds for instructional expense
-Reducing funding by 15 percent for state colleges and universities and 10 percent for community colleges

-Doubling the cigarette tax to 60 cents per pack, raising about $148 million a year
-Limit new enrollment in some services
-Delaying new services
-Freezing or reducing reimbursement rates for providers

Other cuts:
-$500 million withdrawal from the rainy-day fund
-Cutting 1,500 state jobs (400 through attrition, 570 announced in October, 530 additional cuts)
-Closing Southeastern Virginia Training Center, a state-run mental health facility
-Allowing corrections officers to release non-violent felons for good behavior up to 90 days before the end of their term
-Reducing maximum individual tax credit for land preservation from $100,000 to $50,000
-End “dealer discount” on retailers’ sales tax, saving $64.3 million

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