Morning Read: Virginia to Try and Pass Budget Again This Week

Virginia state lawmakers will return to Richmond on Wednesday during a special legislative session to try and pass a two year, $85 billion state budget.

The two parties in the evenly split Senate failed to pass a budget during the scheduled session.

The Daily Press editorial board said that Democrats and Republicans should remember that compromise isn’t a sign of weakness when passing a budget.

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The people of the commonwealth probably shouldn't expect miracles from the General Assembly's upcoming special budget session. For example, Republicans aren't likely to champion new taxes and Democrats aren't likely to have abandoned their spending wish list. But the session that convenes Wednesday does offer the opportunity for Virginia lawmakers to prove they have not forgotten a fundamental principle of governance: compromise.

Enough with the grandstanding on social agenda issues. Enough with the whimpering over committee assignments. Enough with the bullying on both sides of the aisle. It's time to get down to business and adopt a budget.

In the meantime, local officials are preparing for the worst in case a budget isn’t passed by the start of the fiscal year.

The Post reports that in Prince William County, for example, officials are preparing by abandoning construction of parks, holding employee salaries steady or possibly raising taxes.

With no state budget, local officials are forced to prepare their own budgets without knowing how much funding will come from the state. The state spends half its general fund on localities, according to The Post.

* The Washington Post editorial board published its endorsements for D.C. City Council over the weekend. Here’s a recap:

The Editorial Board said that Sekou Biddle, a former D.C. State Board of education member who served briefly on the council, is by far the best choice for the at large council seat currently held by Vincent Orange.

"Mr. Biddle would bring a thoughtful, nuanced approach to the complex issues facing the city. Ask him about jobs or economic development or the tensions of a gentrifying city, and you’ll get not simplistic sound bites but careful analysis and workable ideas."

For Ward 4, the Post picked incumbent Muriel Bowser, who is facing five Democratic challengers.

"Smart, hardworking and independent-minded, Ms. Bowser has shown herself to be an effective advocate for the interests of her demanding ward and a leading voice for education reform and good government. It was under her deft leadership that the council passed ethics legislation, and she promises additional, badly needed reforms in procurement and campaign finance."

In Ward 7, the post selected Tom Brown for the Democrat nominee over the incumbent Yvette M. Alexander.

"Her most promising challenger is Tom Brown, who has a solid background in workforce development. Mr. Brown drew on his own struggles growing up poor to shape a career focused on teaching entrepreneurship to youth and training them for jobs. He has a keen understanding of the needs of the ward and a track record of hard work that gets results."

In the Republican contest, Peaceholics leader Ron Moten got the nod. 

"The energy of his campaign speaks well of the kind of constituent service he would provide to long-suffering Ward 7 residents."

In Ward 8, the Post endorsed Jacque D. Patterson to win the election over four-time former mayor Marion Barry.

"His history of service to Ward 8 and his experience in the administration of former mayor Anthony A. Williams and at the Federal City Council give Mr. Patterson the insights and skills to improve schools and help bring jobs to Ward 8."

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will be in Maryland Wednesday for a series of campaign events before the state’s April 3 primary.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Romney will attend a private lunch at the U.S. Naval Academy with U.S. Sen John McCain. He will also attend a town hall in Arbutus and an evening rally in Frederick.

“The protracted primary this year has put in play states like Maryland that have had little voice in presidential races in the past.”

Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation that would prevent employers from discriminating against the unemployed when hiring.

VIA Baltimore Sun:

The legislation addresses a problem throughout the country where the unemployed says they are not being considered for jobs because they are out of work.

"It's about changing minds or changing attitudes, and then changing behaviors of the employers and the people who represent the employers," says Jackie Gray, a Baltimore resident who co-founded an advocacy group, Unemployed Rising, and supports the legislation.

Read more here.

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