Kaine To Make Historic $1.5B Budget Cuts

Cuts deepest in modern Virginia history

Gov. Tim Kaine is lowering the state's estimated revenue by nearly $1.5 billion for the two-year budget that ends in June.

The total Kaine announced to lawmakers Wednesday reflects revenues $1.2 billion short of current budgeted spending plus a $300 million shortfall from the past fiscal year.

The cuts mark the deepest incision in modern Virginia history into the tax and fees that pay for core state services such as public education and health care, and they are certain to result in some state employee layoffs.

Kaine told the General Assembly's budget- and tax-writing committees that the unprecedented cuts -- the fourth in less than a year -- were forced by the worst economy since the Great Depression.

He said he will make up the differences through spending cuts to be finalized within the next month, redirecting unspent balances and using the "rainy day" reserve fund.

In interviews after his 20-minute address, Kaine said layoffs seemed unavoidable, though he could not predict how many, and said no spending area -- including public schools -- would be exempt.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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