Democrats Talk Budget Stalemate Worries at Senior Statesmen Event
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
The state budget stalemate was the main topic when Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate David Toscano paid a visit to the Senior Center in Albemarle County Wednesday.
Several Republican lawmakers were also invited to the Senior Statesmen of Virginia event - but didn't attend for various reasons.
Both Deeds and Toscano told the group they fear a state budget will not pass without executive interference from Governor Terry McAuliffe.
With time dwindling, lawmakers have until June 30 to pass a state budget. Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate David Toscano worry it won't happen.
"At this point, I guess it's fair to say I'm skeptical, and I think the governor ought to be looking for ways - legal ways - legal arguments to be able to move,” said Deeds.
Those legal options may include an executive order to pass Medicaid reform, the major item left holding up the budget. Toscano says if the time comes, it may be worth doing.
"At that point, you know we're entering uncharted waters and I think the governor will probably intervene to make sure the people are protected,” said Toscano.
Deeds says he believes much of what is holding up a resolution is extreme partisanship that stems from the way House districts are drawn. He says nonpartisan districts would force legislators to talk to both Democrat and Republican constituents.
"Legislators who have to talk to both sides are likely to be more problem-solving, more focused on getting things done, and more able to work together,” said Deeds.
Toscano says one argument against the healthcare expansion is that it will cut funding from other programs if federal funding disappears - but he says this can be avoided.
"If we take what Marketplace Virginia does and bring the federal dollars back here, some of that money can be set aside so that when you have to pick up the 10 percent later on, you've got money to do it,” said Toscano.
If there is no deal by June 30, state government would shut down. That has never happened before in Virginia, but Toscano says it has come very close, citing the budget debate in 2006 that came down to the last day.
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