Today is day 66 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.
On March 25, the Virginia House of Delegates fulfilled its constitutional obligation to pass a two year state budget. But when House members tried to deliver that bill to the Senate, they found a dark and empty Senate chamber.
It is now seven weeks later and the Virginia Senate still has not acted on the budget.
The continued inaction of the Senate is creating tremendous uncertainty for local governments and school boards, and “wrecking havoc” on University Boards of Visitors. It also threatens Virginia’s prestigious AAA bond rating.
Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has sent a sternly worded letter to Senate budget negotiators, warning that continued inaction on the two-year spending plan could threaten the state’s AAA bond rating.
“We are now 52 days from the start of the new fiscal year and our continued failure to act on a new budget only heightens concerns among our local governments, school boards, colleges and universities, and state employees,” Jones wrote to Sens. Charles J. Colgan, D-Prince William and Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico.
He added that Virginia is one of just eight states with a AAA rating from all three bond rating agencies.
Governor McAuliffe and his allies have no justification for taking the budget hostage and putting Virginia on a collision course for a government shutdown.
Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare, no one wants to see Virginia go over the fiscal cliff on June 30.
That’s why House leaders have offered a clear compromise to end the impasse: pass a clean budget now to keep state government open.
It is a compromise supported by over 85 local governments, school boards and elected leaders from across the Commonwealth.
It is the kind of compromise that 71 percent of Virginians said they want to see in Richmond.
And it is exactly the kind of “mainstream compromise” that Governor Terry McAuliffe called for and applauded during the federal government shutdown last fall.
It is time to end the impasse. Governor McAuliffe’s Senate should come back to Richmond and pass a clean budget.