Gov. L. Douglas Wilder last week told the General Assembly he will not seek a general tax increase for the 1992-94 budget period, but said he would be "willing to participate" in discussions if lawmakers decide additional revenues are needed--and Republican legislators are willing to get involved.
The governor made his remarks as he revealed that general fund revenues for the 1992 fiscal year will increase by only 1.9%. That means the state will collect $62.5 million less than the Wilder administration expected when it issued an interim estimate in August
Gov. Wilder, who is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for President, said slowdowns in defense spending and increasesin unfunded federal mandates are largely responsible for the budget woes. The state closed a $2.2 billion budget gap for the 1991-1992 period without raising taxes.
"Virginia did not, and will not, succumb to the use of onetime actions that destroy its financial integrity in the eyes of its citizens, and the analysts on Wall Street," Gov. Wilder said.
"We did not use bond proceeds to reimburse the general fund for the sale of fully built prisons or portions of freeways. We did not roll the June 30 payroll into the next fiscal year and claim millions in phantom savings," he added. All of that, he said, is why the state retains its triple-A bond rating from the three major rating firms.