Returning Legislators Talk About Budget Impasse - WSET.com - ABC13

Returning Legislators Talk About Budget Impasse

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Roanoke, VA - The General Assembly finished its two month session on Saturday but were unable to come to a consensus on two major issues: Medicaid expansion and a budget.

That forced Governor McAuliffe to sign a proclamation for a three week special session designed at getting the impasse solved.

David Tate sat down with a couple of General Assembly members Monday to get their take on the session.

Tate talked to both Delegate Greg Habeeb and Senator John Edwards Monday and, believe it or not, he found some consensus with their assessment just a difference of opinion on why the special session is needed.

For the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly there is some good news coming back from returning representatives.

"It was actually a great session. We did SOL reform, ethics reform, mental health reform," said 8th District Republican Delegate, Greg Habeeb.

Words echoed by District 21 Senator, John Edwards.

"We got a few things done: Reformed the SOLs a little bit. Mental health reform. Some ethics reform," said Edwards.

But beyond that the differences are big as the Governor's major goals of expanding Medicaid and getting a budget passed were not realized.

The issue is that Governor McAuliffe has tied the expansion to the budget which has most Republicans crying foul and demanding a special session to resolve that issue on its own merits.

"It is an issue that we need to deal with; we need to address it but we should not hold the budget hostage over that issue," said Habeeb.

Democrats disagree saying the issues are intertwined.

"We didn't get a budget because of that because this is money that would go through the budget. It has to be a budget program," said Edwards.

Which puts everyone back in Richmond March 24for a special session loosely scheduled for three weeks; a session that really has no timetable to resolution.

"It could last through June.... who knows," said Edwards.

While there is some talk of future government shutdown because of this impasse the current big losers are all the entities that rely on state funding - like schools and government services.

Those examples have budgets of their own which cannot be finalized until legislators are able to get theirs finalized first.

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