Compromise Budget Proposal
-- Compromise Plan Offered to Senate Two Weeks Ago to be Endorsed by Committee --
-- Latest House Proposal Would Create Transportation Reserve Fund to End Impasse --
RICHMOND, VA, April 3, 2006 – House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) today announced that the House Appropriations Committee would approve a new budget proposal to break the current impasse over taxes and transportation spending.
Howell was flanked at the news conference by Delegate R. Steven "Steve" Landes (R-Augusta), Chairman of the House Majority Caucus as well as Delegates Vincent F. Callahan, Jr. (R-Fairfax), Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News), M. Kirkland "Kirk" Cox (R-Colonial Heights), who are among those entrusted with negotiating with their Senate counterparts to forge a new state budget agreement.
“Now almost two weeks ago, our conferees recommended yet another prudent and practical option,” remarked Speaker Howell. “Our proposal at that time was to separate transportation increases from the rest of the budget and to focus on advancing a spending plan that would benefit all Virginians. Members of both sides acknowledge that a resolution on a budget outside of transportation could be accomplished quickly, in a matter of days.”
The House proposal, formerly offered to the Senate conferees by their counterparts from the House on March 22, would have both sides finding agreement on all areas of the budget except transportation.
For funding related to transportation, agreement would be reached on all areas where both bodies concur – such as the utilization of abuser fees for funding. All remaining moneys that were not allocated would be set aside in a special “Transportation Reserve Fund.” That reserve fund, as well as any additional revenues that might be approved by both bodies, would be dealt with by the General Assembly in a special session.
If accepted, the House proposal would allow local governments to properly plan for the remainder of the year, as a budget would be approved promptly and all funding other than transportation increases would be firmly established.
“While I have outlined the course of action that the House is pursuing, the House Majority leadership and all House conferees remain open to consider any sound, coherent and workable alternative as negotiations continue,” Speaker Howell concluded. “I am pleased with the resolve and determination of our caucus and of our conferees to fulfill our obligation to the people of the Commonwealth and deliver to them a sound budget. Hopefully, that commitment to answering the call to duty will soon be matched by our colleagues.”
Additional details about the House’s “Transportation Reserve Fund” proposal are detailed on a separate handout.
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