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Budget stalemate irks Halifax County delegate

He’s not one for political finger-pointing, but Tuesday Del. James Edmunds said he was as upset “as he has ever been,” after Senate Democrats killed the state budget.


In a telephone interview late Tuesday evening, Edmunds said he was so angry he “could bite a nail in two.”

On Wednesday afternoon without any discussion, the Senate passed the budget after one lone Democrat, Sen. Charles Colgan of Manassas, joined all 20 Senate Republicans in voting for the budget bill, HB 1301.  

But a day earlier, Edmunds accused Senate Democrats of holding the entire state hostage over “a $300 million pork project in Northern Virginia — the Dulles rail extension.

  “And, it cost the taxpayers of this state $40,000 just for us to go back to Richmond Tuesday to get nothing accomplished.  And for that one earmark, they have killed a budget for 8 million people in a state of 40,000 square miles.  That is irresponsible, reckless and unprecedented,” the angry delegate from Halifax said Tuesday.

Edmunds continued, “No one got everything they wanted in the proposed budget, but we all got something.  The 60th District had a budget that was as good as it could have been for all of our localities to receive more funding than last year — including more disability waivers and an expansion for the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.   In the political climate we are in today, this was an excellent budget for our district.”

Twelve budget conferees gave up their personal time and worked untold hours to craft a budget that met the state’s core responsibilities, according to Edmunds.  

“I am extremely relieved that we now have a budget so that our localities can plan. This budget contains nearly $215 million more for public schools than the plan the governor proposed in December, and nearly $45 million more for health and human services programs. It contains increased funding for state colleges, and it provides a 3 percent bonus for state employees and college faculty in December and a 2 percent raise in August 2013 if revenues meet specified targets. Virginia state legislators have shown the leadership that is expected of us by the voters who put us in office,” Edmunds concluded.