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Va. Budget Includes Massive Cuts, New Fees

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, the state's General Assembly has overwhelmingly passed a new two-year budget that makes unprecedented cuts to state services and programs.

With little debate or dissent, the House approved the $70 billion funding plan on a 73-23 vote, while the Senate passed it 34-6, the last act of the 2010 session taken one day behind schedule.

The compromise budget cuts $250 million from public education. Lawmakers did decide to erase unpaid days off for state workers.

Democratic Delegate Bob Brink, of Arlington, says he feels lawmakers did the best they could under tough circumstances. But he says many constituents in northern Virginia won't be pleased especially with cuts to education funding.

"I don't really think anyone can be happy with what we heard or what we're facing, because these are such tough times," says Brink.

Prince William Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican, isn't happy with the $94 million in new fees the budget imposes, or the fact that the fees weren't approved with separate, transparent, votes as Marshall says the state constitution demands.

"What we're resorting to in tough times are the practices that citizens find repulsive in Washington," says Marshall.

Both Brink and Marshall say they expect Governor McDonnell to sign the budget with few changes.

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