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McDonnell outlines budget plan

From NBC's Kelly Paice and Ali Weinberg
The top-two Republicans on the ticket in Virginia this year -- gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and current Lt. Gov Bill Bolling -- today announced a series of budget and spending proposals intended to increase transparency and efficiency in the Virginia state government.

In a conference call with reporters today, McDonnell laid out his plans for evidence-based budgeting, an approach that he said corporate America had embraced. Annual budgets for state agencies would be determined "on the premise that they must justify expenditures year after year," as opposed to adding to or subtracting from the previous years' budget. Each agencies' budget would be subject to "performance measures and metrics to determine how well that money has been spent," McDonnell said.

Bolling recommended increasing the permitted amount of state revenue put into the Rainy Day Fund, created in 1995 by former Gov. Doug Wilder (D) to provide extra funding during tough economic times. The current cutoff is 10% of total state tax collections, which Bolling said he wants to increase to 15%.

When asked whether it would be possible to have too much money in the Rainy Day Fund, McDonnell said, "No. And I think this last budget has shown that it needs to be a lot bigger."

While McDonnell spent most of the call outlining his policy proposals, he did take time to criticize his opponent, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds, who has said he is open to increasing taxes for increases in state transportation spending.

McDonnell said that Deeds is "the only candidate for governor in the modern era actually running on a platform of increased taxes."

The Deeds campaign countered with this statement: "Virginians have no reason to trust Bob McDonnell on fiscal responsibility. If Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling had their way, Virginia wouldn't have a triple-A bond rating, wouldn't be the Best State for Business and wouldn't have any money in our Rainy Day Fund to get through this economic downturn. When Virginia was at a crossroads, Creigh Deeds joined a bipartisan coalition to reform our budget and save our triple-A bond rating. Bob McDonnell stood in the way."