Budget

VA Governor Dinged For Letting Agencies Suggest Their Own Budget Cuts

Bureaucrats then recommend cuts they know won't fly

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ALEXANDRIA — Allowing state agencies to submit their own spending cut suggestions as Gov. Bob McDonnell has without first laying out specific ground rules is bad budget practice, according to one state fiscal policy expert.

McDonnell last month asked the state's agencies — excluding the agencies handling K-12 education and Medicaid — to come up with proposals for slashing 4 percent of their budgets in fiscal year 2014, in case Congress isn't able to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Last week, the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget released agencies' suggested cuts in a 21-page document.

By failing to list specific requirements for prioritizing programs, McDonnell gave agencies too much room to make poor suggestions, said Bob Williams, president of the nonprofit State Budget Solutions.