This Week in Richmond

Posted: March 3, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

This weekly column, written by Thomas Hennessey, chief of staff to President Alan Merten, is published to keep the university community informed on the legislative situation in Richmond and how those developments directly affect George Mason.

Earlier this week, the Speaker of the House announced the appointment of Delegates Vincent Callahan, Lacey Putney, Phillip Hamilton, Kirkland Cox, and Johnny Joannou to be the House representatives to the Budget Conference Committee. Expected this week is the announcement of Senators John Chichester, Charles Colgan, Walter Stosch, and William Wampler as the Senate members of the conference committee. The conferees will meet and work on a compromise to the two budget proposals for approval of the Senate and the House by March 13, adjournment day. Should a compromise not be reached and no budget be approved for the coming fiscal year, the governor will likely call an immediate special General Assembly session to work through the current differences.

As reported widely in the press, the gap between the Senate’s $62 billion budget for the next two years and the House’s $58.3 billion budget is what the conferees must address. Significant to the negotiation is that the Senate’s budget is supported by a $3.9 billion tax increase while the House balances its budget with a plan to end $522 million in tax exemptions for some businesses.

More will be known by noon on March 11 when the conference report on the budget becomes available.

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