Virginia back in the black for the third year running

posted at 3:36 pm on August 16, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Ah, Virginia — drink it in, it always goes down smooth. I’m never one to miss out on an opportunity to tout the virtues of my home state, especially while somewhat less-than-humble, wildly profligate states like California are busily telling everyone that they’re the ones ‘leading the country’ and ‘winning the future’ with green-energy standards and ‘anti-Arizona‘ immigration bills and whatever else it is they’re always going on about. Yeah, okay California — you just keep doing that. Meanwhile, fiscally sane states like Virginia are going to engender policies that attract businesses, tap into their state’s energy resources, find ways to efficiently streamline government, and foster an unemployment rate well below the national average.

‘Cause that’s exactly what Virginia’s been doing — while plenty of other states are bleeding red ink like there’s no tomorrow, Virginia is once again bringing in a budget surplus for the third year in a row. It can be done, people! I’m really pleased that Mitt Romney ended up going with Paul Ryan as his running mate, as I think we needed the energy he brought with him to the ticket, but that doesn’t mean that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell couldn’t have been an exceptionally competent (albeit admittedly ‘vanilla’) choice. McDonnell has engineered fiscally responsible governance and a better-than-average state economy, meaning government spending has come in under-budget and tax revenues have come in over-budget. Bazinga:

Virginia finished its fiscal year June 30 with a $448.5 million surplus through a combination of higher-than-projected revenues and agency cost-cutting, putting the state far enough into the black to give a 3 percent bonus to state workers who have not had a pay raise in five years.

“Simply put: Over the past three years, we have brought in more revenue than forecasted, and spent less than budgeted,” said Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Wednesday. “That is responsible fiscal management. It is the Virginia way.” …

Virginia’s results put it ahead of many states. Revenue grew 5.4 percent in fiscal 2012 without the benefit of any tax increase, compared with an average of 2.9 percent nationally, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.

Of course, state Democrats are saying this is all due to ‘external conditions,’ like the relatively large bit of Virginia’s economy kept moving right along by the federal defense spending that comes through the state, but they can’t honestly try and pretend as if conservative fiscal policies have had absolutely nothing to do with this. If only the federal government would take a leaf out of the Old Dominion’s book, eh?


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