The $1 billion-plus state government will receive from the federal stimulus package means the difference between a stingy state budget and a desolate one.
A dozen legislators tailoring the budget's final form worry about the recession outlasting the two-year stimulus package.
After meeting privately Friday with Gov. Tim Kaine, House and Senate budget conferees agreed not to use the one-time cash to feed long-term spending.
House negotiators want an unspent cushion of at least $200 million. The Senate plan anticipates about a $50 million cushion.
Talks start Sunday. The target for reconciling the plans is Tuesday.