RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called out republicans and democrats on WRVA 1140’s live “Ask the Governor” program Thursday morning and said it is time both parties stopped squabbling and passed a state budget.
However, news that the House Appropriations Committee uncovered a possible revenue shortfall of up to $350 million this fiscal year only makes passing a budget even harder.
McAuliffe believes Virginia is the victim of failed budget projections over the last two years.
There is a $900 million “rainy day fund” that the state could dip into. Half of it could help fill that budget gap so the state wouldn't have to make deep cuts to services and cuts to k-through-12 schools and higher education.
But in order to use it, Virginia has to have a budget passed.
"The (General Assembly) needs to do their job”, McAuliffe said. “The house and senate need to come together, get into conference, and pass a budget."
The major problem to passing a budget is the bitter dispute between the parties about expanding Medicaid eligibility for low-income Virginians.
The Republican Party of Virginia gave us it’s response to the governor’s comments, saying “Gov. McAuliffe fails to understand you can't save money by making government programs bigger.”
Gov. McAuliffe believes the state has already thrown away $750 million in federal funds that Washington was willing to give through Obama Care and Medicaid expansion.
"Money we took out of our pockets and we shipped up to Washington with this new legislation. We had the right to bring back 100 percent of it back. Now, the bad news is, it's gone. We can never get that money back. But let's stop this foolishness; get to work. Let's compromise. Let's do it the bi-partisan way."
If the GA fails to pass a budget by the end of June, it could mean a state government shutdown.
The “Ask the Governor” program ended on an interesting note. Host Jimmy Barrett jokingly bet the governor $5 that Virginia would not have a budget passed in time. Gov. McAuliffe took the bet.