Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Location: Herndon, Virginia, USA
|Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:30 pm Post subject: The Rust Report, December 19, 2008
|I received this by e-mail from Virginia Delegate Tom Rust.
The Rust Report
December 19, 2008
As you may know, Governor Kaine has released his proposed amendments to the 2008-2010 budget. This is the first step in addressing the budget shortfall of at least $3 billion. When the General Assembly reconvenes on January 14th, this will be the focus of the session. Although I haven't had the opportunity to study his amendments in detail, I believe that additional cuts will have to made in order to not increase general taxes. We must remain cautious during these tough economic times and make sound economic decisions that will result in a stronger Virginia. The decisions that we make this year, will set the stage for how Virginia is poised in the future. This will be daunting task of which the Governor has taken the first step. Some of the Governor's major budget actions are outlined below:
* Eliminate 1500 jobs including 331 in public safety (prisons)
* Eliminate employee pay raises
* Cut $418 million in health care services
* Cut $395 million in public school aid
* Cut higher education funds by 15%
* Increase the cigarette tax from 30 cents to 60 cents
* Withdraw the maximum (almost $500 million) from the "Rainy Day Fund"
* Release non-violent prisoners early
These budget cuts are the fourth round of budget reductions since 2007. The Governor's recommnedations will be submitted to the General Assembly on January 14th as the first order of business and it will be worked on throughout the session.
I have been busy working on details of the bills I will introduce during this General Assembly session. As I have mentioned in an earlier Rust Reprot, this will be a 'short' session, beginning January 14th and lasting only 45 days; therefore, each Delegate is limited to introducing only 15 bills. One bill which I introduced last year, and I will reintroduce it this year, is the School Construction Revolving Fund. The purpose of the fund is to encourage the investment of both public and private funds and to make loans, grants, and credit enhancements available to local govenments to finance school projects. Last year the House of Delegates passed this bill overwhelmingly, but the Senate failed to pass it.
I am pleased to tell you that Virginia scored a perfect 10 on a study which ranks state governments on their readiness for a major emergency or a disaster. The study was done by the Trust for America's Health. Each state was evaluated on their readiness to 10 questions. Maryland scored one of the lowest with only a 5 out of 10.
The troubling news is that over half of the states scored 7 or less out of 10, with Maryland tied for the lowest score with 5 out of 10. Virginia takes this matter very seriously and we have made a concerted effort to keep our citizens safe.
If you would like to review the details of the report, please go to www.healthyamericans.org.
I would also like to invite you to attend one of my Town Hall meetings. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the 'hot' topics that we'll be discussing in the General Assembly, and ask questions about subjects that interest you. The meetings will be held as follows:
Saturday, January 17
10:00 am - Park View High School Library, 400 W Laurel Ave., Sterling
1:00 pm - Herndon Town Council Chambers,765 Lynn Street, Herndon
4:00 pm - McNair Farms Elementary School, 2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive, Herndon
I look forward to seeing you at one of these meetings; however, if you cannot attend and would like to discuss issues with me, please call my office 703-437-9400, and I will be happy to speak with you.
I wish you and your family the best this holiday season.
Government debt and deficits are robbing your children, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren. http://www.usdebtclock.org/