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Sales tax collections dip blamed for Virginia’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe announed a projected budget shortfall of $1.2 billion at a joint House and Senate money Committees meeting Friday morning.

However, Majority Leader Kirk Cox and others said they believe it could be even more.

“We think it’s more like $1.5 billion, but we’ll deal with it,” said Del. Cox, “We have to balance the budget.

The Governor talked about the positive aspects of Virginia’s economy and the job growth, but said the trend didn’t reflect wages and tax revenue, who did grow but at a slower rate than anticipated.
McAuliffe said the majority of the budget shortfall was due to poor performance of withholding sales tax collections and stressed that Virginia was not alone in this kind of situation.

“It’s disturbing,” said Del. Cox, “It’s a bad new normal, especially just your payroll withholdings is not good.”

While the shortfall comes with it’s challenges, the governor did praise the economic development and historic job announcements in the Commonwealth.

“If we stand back and look at all we’ve accomplished, we can be confident that we are in a very different place today than we were two years ago when we confronted our first budget shortfall,” said Gov. McAuliffe.

The governor will be laying out his budget amendments in the upcoming months to see what specifically needs to be cut.

However, he did mention that they could soften the budget shortfall significantly if Virginia agrees to expand Medicad and accept federal dollars.

Some don’t agree with that.

“Other states that have done that, their economies are in really big trouble so we just got to go forth and do some blocking and tackling and we will,” said Del. Cox.