GOP and Kaine Trade Letters, Barbs

If ths week is any indication, next Friday’s budget speech — and the fall out that follows — could get ugly.

Top GOP lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to Gov. Tim Kaine (D), urging him against including a tax hike in the budget the governor will propose next week.

The letter was signed by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford), Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), state Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) and state Sen. William Wampler (R-Bristol).

In it, the men state that a tax increase proposal would be “counterproductive at the very least,” given the fact that Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) has said explicitly that he will reject any plans to raise taxes.

They also cite Virginia’s  tradition of “fiscal prudence,” adding that “it is a legacy we indend to protect in the legislature.”

Kaine fired back late Friday afternoon saying the lawmakers’ letter “conveys a failure to grasp the stark realities of the coming budget.”

“We are far beyond the stage of eliminating inefficiencies or making merely difficult cuts,” Kaine wrote.

“We are well into decisions that impact the lives of Virginians.”

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