Some Virginia officials caution that residents should tamp down their expectations despite the news of the projected surplus. They say sluggish national GDP growth of less than 2 percent and several state indicators suggest that the economy is slowing down.
Year-to-date state revenues grew ahead of the forecast to 5.8 percent. But they've not increased in all tax categories, and sales taxes for the year fell 2 percent, as consumer spending appeared to slow.
Delegate Joe May (R) says that any surplus is already spoken for through payments to the Rainy Day and state pension funds, and it's unfortunate when headlines use the word "excess."
"When I get asked about this I always start with a sigh, because I know good and well we're not wallowing in money," May says.
Delegate Steve Landes (R) pointed out that huge federal budget cuts could affect Virginia's economy.
"There's no way they can balance that federal budget without looking at the Department of Defense and defense spending," he says.
Virginia is first among states in per capita defense spending, so cuts made to procurement would hit hard, according to Ric Brown, the state's finance secretary.