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Coalition Rejects Budget Cuts, Targets Tax Breaks

As Gov. Bob McDonnell puts the final touches on his proposed budget for the Commonwealth, VEA and its partners in the Better Choices Coalition today urged him to close tax loopholes and avoid cuts to state programs that will cost jobs.

Virginia currently has more than $12 billion in tax breaks on the books, Michael Cassidy, president of the Commonwealth Institute, said at a press briefing at the Capitol. But since 2008, lawmakers have slashed funding to such essential services as education ($1.3 billion cut), health care ($994 million), and public safety ($238 million).

While millionaires continue to get tax breaks for yachts, public schools have laid off teachers and raised class sizes.

Dominic Melito, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association, told reporters that school system has lost $106 million in funding from state and local sources in the past four years. “Continuing to make cuts and raise class sizes creates situations that are detrimental to children’s lives,” Melito said. “Remember, we don’t get a second chance to educate the students: we have to do it right and right now!”

Following the news conference, members of the Coalition delivered a petition with 1,300 signatures to the Governor; it called on McDonnell to take a balanced approach that includes not just cuts but also new sources of revenue.

To learn more about the Coalition's work, and to sign up for email alerts, visit the Better Choices for Virginia website.

Photos: VBEA President Dominic Melito (above); Richmond Education Association President Angela Dews signs petition (below).



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