Impact on Property Taxes
The Senate has analyzed the impacts the House and Senate budget plans could have on local property taxes. The analysis is here.

Budget Blah, Blah, Blahs
We’ll know soon whether we have a budget or a deadlock. There’s a $3.5 billion gap between the House and Senate versions. But the Senate complains about the House budget, “What we can’t identify … is where the money has come from,” said Sen. John Chichester (R-Stafford) and lead Senate negotiator, who said the House budget is out of balance. For public education, compromises were tiny: The House offered an additional $33 million. The Senate reduced its offer by about $84 million.

Meanwhile, they play games. Del. Vince Callahan whined about the Senate conferees’ punctuality. “They never show up on time. They’re always late, or don’t show up at all. It’s classic.”

But here’s the rub:

“We are back without pay,” noted Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle County, who cancelled a scheduled vacation this week to drive back to Richmond only to sit and wait for budget conferees to act. The legislators are not receiving their $115 per diem pay during the three-day extended session that ends tonight at midnight.
The Lynchburg Republican said it might be time for the General Assembly to adjourn tonight, then call itself back into special session and allow most legislators to go home “to get called back when there is white smoke” of the type used to signify either election of a new pope or agreement on a state budget.

The Hampton Roads Daily Press thinks we’re smarter: “But even with all this, there’s room for joy. Virginians are more informed as a result of the current mess. Bit by bit, they are beginning to understand the tradeoffs, the consequences, the outcomes of actions and inactions.”

Do you think that’s true?

Another Daily Press editorial outlines school benefits of the Senate budget.

A fair criticism coming from the conservative press is that most politicians, especially progressives, avoid serious discussions about taxes and priorities during their election campaigns.

An observation: Newspapers around the state – the Daily Press, Virginian Pilot, Roanoke Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch, among them – do a much better job of editorializing on state budget priorities than does The Washington Post. The Northern Virginia Journal is better at it, but it’s hard to get a copy delivered to your home.