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State agencies detail job cuts and cost savings to hit mandated four percent cut

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)— A number of state agencies have clarified what cuts they would make to meet the demand made by Governor Bob McDonnell that they prepare to cut their budgets by four percent.

Among the most severe cuts are the reductions to the area of public safety by the Department of Corrections which says it would have to close several facilities to save more than $29 million with the loss of 537 jobs, and in the Department of Juvenile Justice which would reorganize several facilities to save more than $7 million, with the eventual loss of more than two hundred jobs.

The Virginia State Police says it would change its overtime allowances to save nearly $6 million as well as keep three trooper positions vacant and shuffle shifts and patrols to save a further $155,000. But the State Police says those cuts would slow police response time and reduce enforcement of Virginia laws.

The State Police also said it would have to sell three aircraft, including two helicopters and fixed-wing Cessna, and close the Lynchburg Aviation Base to bring in $2 million from the one-time sale and save more than $500,000 annually.

The State Police also propose eliminating its motorcycle program and selling off its motorcycles, bringing about $425,000.  It says it would then be unable to provide such escorts for dignitary and funeral processions.

Here is the original article:

A memo from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell declared that effective immediately, Virginia state agencies must be prepared to cut their budgets by 4 percent, confirmed Tucker Martin, spokesperson for McDonnell.

McDonnell cited a “fiscal cliff” in a memo sent to executive departments. The memo was sent in preparation that Congress won’t agree on debt reductions by Jan. 1.

Martin said that every year they “ask agencies for spending reduction proposals and strategies.” 

“I just want to be ready,” says McDonnell.  He said this is a process that takes place every year, but went on to say, that there is too much uncertainty in Washington right now and wants a plan in place.   

“This year the importance of this exercise is heightened by the unprecedented uncertainty presented by the looming federal fiscal cliff, and additional budget pressures currently facing Virginia,” Martin said. “We’re just seeking ideas for savings at this time, not making final decisions.”

When it comes to the direct impact on you or your family, if those four percent cuts are implemented by state agencies, the governor says he isn’t sure.

“Until I get the plans, the answer is, I don’t know.” But again, in the past, what I’m really looking for is greater efficiency and maybe ways to consolidate programs,”  McDonnell said. 

McDonnell’s memo said they “understand that the ongoing hiring freeze has placed additional responsibilities on state employees and emphasized that the plans “should focus on identifying the lowest priority activities in your respective agency, rather than on personnel.”

McDonnell  has asked state agencies to present their proposed cuts by November 21. 

This announcement was made just two days after Democratic nominee Barack Obama was re elected to a four-year Presidential term.

CBS 6 asked McDonnell about the timing of his announcement  but he said Obama’s win wasn’t a factor. “This is about the time I’ve done it in the past,” says McDonnell.

The governor says with President Obama entering his second term, repealing the federal healthcare law doesn’t look promising. He insists that will be another financial burden on the state.