Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
State senators still talking budget, possibly movement today
A day after the Senate voted down the third iteration of a state budget, senators are talking about what to do next. And they may take another vote today.
The budget bill was voted down but could be revived, under procedural rules.
Sen. Chuck Colgan, D-Prince William, said this afternoon that senators have discussed the budget in meetings this afternoon and decided to postpone further talks for a few hours, in hopes of finding a solution to the budget issue.
In a brief interview in a Capitol hallway, Colgan said that while the Senate recessed for the past hour and a half, he and other budget negotiators, as well as some other Democratic senators, met to talk about the sticking point in the budget — an additional $300 million for Dulles rail, to mitigate tolls.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has said he will not approve additional state money for that project in this budget, and it’s the reason Democrats voted the budget down on Tuesday. Democrats also wanted toll mitigation funds for projects in Hampton Roads; McDonnell agreed to write some of that into a public-private road deal for that region.
“We really decided to take a break and come back later,” Colgan said. “I hope we settle something today.”
Colgan is considered the swing vote on the budget, since the budget requires 21 votes, and one Democrat plus all 20 Republicans would be enough. Colgan had signed the budget conference report, but then voted against the budget on Tuesday.
Lawmakers are in town today to deal with vetoes and amendments by McDonnell to other bills passed during the regular session.