It is widely reported that the Commonwealth's 2010 budget "surplus" has nearly doubled to $404 million. While it is only a "surplus" in the sense that very cautious figures were used in drafting the original budget, the news is nevertheless welcomed. The question now is how to allocate the "found money."
Governor McDonnell had previously promised state employee a 3% year-end "bonus." He and the General Assembly should live up to that commitment... or better yet, make it a permanent pay raise. It has been four years (well before the recession began) since state employees received one and they've taken hits on some benefits. It will go a long way to helping to build morale.
Another priority should be repaying the Virginia Retirement System for money the General Assembly borrowed to help balance the budget. This year alone the state put off $137 million in contributions to VRS. Restoring those contributions will be a giant step toward assuring the stability and long term viability of the system.
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