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State agencies present budget cuts, public safety most severe

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.

“It doesn’t mean I’m going to cut them by four percent,” Governor McDonnell recently told CBS 6.

“This is something I do every year – I think whether we are in good times or in bad it’s good for state agencies to look at their operations,” McDonnell said.

Among the most severe cuts proposed by the agencies 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.

Governor McDonnell will make his decision on what cuts will take place, if any, when he addresses the General Assembly on December 17th.

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