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Del. Englin Blasts State Surplus

by ARLnow.com August 19, 2010 at 9:21 am 1,906 23 Comments

Del. David Englin (D), who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax, says Virginia’s $404 million budget surplus is the result of “irresponsible choices and budget gimmickry.”

Englin, Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, says the surplus is the result of borrowing $600 million from the state pension trust fund and forcing state retailers to pay their July sales taxes early. That’s in addition to the $4 billion in cuts to state services that was needed to plug Virginia’s budget deficit.

“Instead of trying to score political points by claiming a surplus that isn’t, leaders of both parties ought to level with citizens who see for themselves the decline in services and quality of life,” Englin said in a statement. “A balanced budget and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars requires money in to equal money out, without gimmicks that cook the books and risk our future finances.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to spend the surplus on roads, education, the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and a one-time 3 percent bonus for state employees, according to the Washington Post.

  • Lolo

    Wow they borrowed $600 from the pension fund? lol

    • Yes, then the governor went down to the race track and put the $600 on a long-shot horse. Now that’s an example of bold, innovative government solutions.

      No, actually we forgot to put “million” after the “$600.”

      • Skeptical

        Equine products are such a prominent feature in political dialogue, I’m hardly surprised.

  • Lou

    Even $600 dollars is too much to take away from pensioners.

  • Lolo

    Arlnow is so snarky this morning.

  • Thirsty

    If there is a surplus, I would like a tax refund. Mr. Governor, what are you waiting for? Please give us back our money.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Final budget approvals were bi-partisan (73-23 in the House; 34-6 in the Senate). 3 of the 23 “no” votes in the House came from delegates who represent parts of Arlington (Englin, along with Ebbin & Hope). Bob Brink voted “yes.”

    The $404M surplus was revenue driven – final revenues came in higher than projected. By itself, that is a good thing.

    I recommend ARLnow readers check out Englin’s full statement (the link is in the second graph of the story above). Were there some “gimmicks” in this spring’s budget process? Arguably, yes. Were there service cuts? Also yes.

    I’d presume David Englin is a reader here, so I’ll ask the question – David, did you support raising taxes to avoid any/all of these “gimmick” and/or budget cuts?

    • Just the Facts

      A vote of 34-6 is “bipartisan”?!? How would you have described a vote of 39-1? Slightly lopsided?

      • charlie

        consider the VA Senate is 22-18 that would say 12 people jumped the aisle.

        • Wayne Kubicki

          Charlie – since the Senate is 22-18 with the Dems in the majority, I believe 16 of the 22 Dems voted “yes” (*assuming all 18 GOPers did as well).

    • Yes.

      • MB

        😀

        (And thank you for that, David.)

      • Burger

        Wow…I’m shocked. A Democrat talking about raising taxes instead of asking the government to live within its means.

  • Brian

    I’m not sure anyone from the Democratic party should be criticizing anything related to government spending.

    • charlie

      i think the issue here is that we have a Governor who is cooking the books trying to make it look like he saved the Commonwealth. But next August, from whom we have now robbed, will tell another story.

  • Steve

    This article is actually 100% spot on. Governor McDonald’s claim that we have a “surplus” is not at all truthful.

    We basically borrowed from one pot, to put it in the other. Democrats don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to cutting spending. Unfortunately the tactics used by Republicans don’t seem to be any better.

  • SeeingStars

    Englin already knows most folks from Alexandria don’t beleive it’s a real surplus. Not sure the choices were irresponsible either. Don’t understand why the political parties don’t care about the average citizen, the poor and rich are helped, the ‘tween’ folks are forgotten.

  • Jim

    Okay – now I’m wondering – did David Englin reply “yes” to Mr. Kubicki’s “David, did you support raising taxes to avoid any/all of these “gimmick” and/or budget cuts?” or just to the reply above his??? Raising taxes in a recession has got to be like pouring gas on a fire to put it out.

    The only part of this thread that sounded factual was Mr. Kubicki’s. Anyone else do their homework?

    • I replied “yes” to his question about raising taxes. At it’s core, a balanced budget is a simple equation: Spending must equal revenue. Virginia has a revenue problem. (If we didn’t, why would House Republicans support raiding the pension trust fund and forcing small businesses to pay taxes early, rather than simply finding more to cut?)

      Not all tax increases — or cuts — are created equal. For example, I continue fighting hard to eliminate the state sales tax on food, but I support raising cigarette taxes to the national average. We need less ideology and more good government in our policy making, especially when it comes to our finances.

      • Sorry…I meant “at *its* core”!

      • TGEoA

        So your fellow democrats vote for this gimmick and you have the nerve to call out republicans while in the same breath speak out against ideology?

        Hypocrite

        • I guess you didn’t actually read my statement: “Instead of trying to score political points by claiming a surplus that isn’t, *leaders of both parties* ought to level with citizens who see for themselves the decline in services and quality of life. A balanced budget and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars requires money in to equal money out, without gimmicks that cook the books and risk our future finances.”

  • Skeptical

    Unless collected revenues outstrip obvious need, any surplus is a faux “surplus.”

    If I have a few hundred more left in the bank than I expected after paying this month’s bills, but am aware that I have an old house and kids who probably need braces and tutoring, I don’t call myself rich and cut my working hours. Unless the governor can stand in front of a bullet list of all the infrastructure in this state that needs upkeep and show that the money required to accomplish that (frequently desperately deferred) maintenance is in the treasury, and then some, I don’t think we have a “surplus.”

    I know professors at state schools who are being asked to teach classes of fifty-four students, when they already felt they could not present the material meaningfully at half the student load. I’d like to see the “surplus” after some of those “economies” are addressed.

    Can he do that?

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