At the starting gate

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The 2017 General Assembly session is almost upon us. The week before Christmas, Gov. Terry McAuliffe submitted his proposals to adjust the biennial budget to reflect revised tax revenue estimates from a year ago.

On Wednesday afternoon, public hearings around the state will give you an opportunity to address your thoughts on the budget. Members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee will hear comments at the General Assembly Building in Richmond. Del. Riley Ingram and I will co-chair those Richmond hearings.

If these public hearings follow the pattern of every one I have attended in the past, the majority of those attending will be asking that the governor’s budget should have included greater funding for this group of shareholders or some project. Groups that have a vested interest in seeking more spending are far more organized and, therefore, more likely to encourage proponents of increased funding to attend.

They are more likely to encourage folks to sit through a long public hearing for a chance to spend a few minutes offering their thoughts on why the state should spend more taxpayer’s money. Rarely do small business people have the time or inclination to attend. The state budget rarely offers much of interest to their businesses. It is more likely to add to the cost of doing business.

As the governor announced prior to providing a copy of the budget to us, his adjustments are not earth-shattering. Some cuts were needed.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the State Senate. His email address is