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A Good Plan, In Our Opinion

Gov. Tim Kaine (D) wrote to the chairmen of the General Assembly’s finance and appropriations committees on Monday. In the letter, he said that because of significant shortfalls in three revenue categories, “he might need to lop spending items off his proposed budget should economic forecasts worsen this month,” according to today’s Washington DC Examiner.

The Examiner wrote:

“In the letter, Kaine referred to three sectors of the state revenue pie: Nonwitholding individual income, corporate taxes and the recordation tax. The first, paid largely by investments and the self-employed, dropped 21.4 percent in December over the same month in 2006. Corporate taxes fell 21.1 percent last month, and the tax on recording deeds, wills, contracts and lawsuits dropped 27 percent.

“Although Kaine has said he advocates some new taxes, he has not proposed any.”

The paper included the following uninformed statement by Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston):

“Virginia is a pretty frugal state. ... It’s not obvious or clear to me right now what can go,”

Del. Plum can’t be too familiar with the state budget. Perhaps he should join the General Assembly’s Cost Cutting Caucus for help in learning what can be cut. Given that state spending has increased significantly faster than inflation and population growth combined over the past 10 years, according to the General Assembly’s own audit group (JLARC), Del. Plum shouldn’t have much trouble finding spending to cut from the budget. At least the governor sounds as if he has a plan, and is willing to make the hard choices.

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