Va. budget shortfall grows; deal in the works

LARRY O’DELL
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s state budget shortfall is growing.

House Appropriations Committee members learned Wednesday that lagging revenues have widened the budget gap to about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion. That’s up from the previously expected $1.35 billion.

Committee members were given the bad news by their staff director and Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s budget chief.

The committee’s chairman, Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk, said House and Senate budget negotiators generally agree on how to plug the gap and will have a budget ready for lawmakers to consider Thursday. They’re looking at about $900 million in cuts, plus a transfer from the state’s rainy-day fund.

The deal would end a long-running stalemate over including Medicaid expansion in the budget. That possibility ended when Democratic Sen. Phil Puckett resigned, shifting Senate control to Republicans.

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