2005 Session

Budget Amendments - HB1500 (Governor's Veto Explanation)

Governor vetoed the following line items from the Budget Bill: 

The Governor's Statement: 

I have signed House Bill No. 1500, which amends the appropriations adopted last year for the 2004 - 06 biennium, including one item veto. 

Let me first express my appreciation to the General Assembly for adopting almost all the amendments that I submitted to the Reconvened Session.  The budget amendments I proposed and you adopted were vital to Virginia’s efforts to stimulate economic growth through support of emerging technologies, workforce development, and rural prosperity.  The amendments also maximize the use of available federal dollars for child nutrition programs, and address needed compensation improvements for law enforcement officers.  I thank the members of the House of Delegates and the Senate for their strong support in these areas. 

Within the budget, one issue remains problematic – the rejection of an amendment proposed to Item 463.  In that item, language in the enrolled budget requires VITA to increase the rates charged to state agencies to repay a deficit authorization for agency start-up costs that I approved last December under § 4-3.02 of the 2004 Appropriation Act.  Left unaltered, these higher rates would impose a significant budget cut on most state agencies.  The impact on VDOT alone is estimated at $1.6 million.  The impact on the Department of Social Services is estimated at $800,000.  And, the impact on the Department of Health is estimated at $400,000. 

Because agencies have not been funded to pay these higher rates, the increased costs would have to be absorbed by cutting programs or reducing expenses elsewhere.  Some of these start-up costs cannot be charged to the federal government.  The amendment I submitted to the Reconvened Session would have eliminated the need for this rate increase by absorbing the cost from unspent balances.  I regard this as the better course of action. 

Consolidating the Commonwealth’s technology operations into a single entity is producing tangible and measurable benefits for state government.  Saddling VITA with unplanned expenses and unnecessary rate increases makes this effort more difficult. 

The language in Item 463 includes an additional problem which must be addressed.  Among other provisions, this language requires the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees to approve any alternative plan developed by executive agencies to repay the deficit authorization.  Virginia’s Constitution and separation of powers principles of long standing make it clear the General Assembly may only exercise legislative power by enacting laws pursuant to Article IV § 11 of the Constitution and presenting those enactments to the Governor pursuant to Article V § 6.  Requiring approval of a repayment plan by specific legislators violates these constitutional provisions. 

Because of these dual problems, I have chosen to veto Item 463.  The effect of this action will be to return Item 463 to the form in which it was enacted during the 2004 session. 


            Mark R. Warner