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General Assembly Special Session Costing Taxpayers

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No state budget has passed and Republicans are aiming to put pressure on Senate Democrats and the governor as some lawmakers continue to meet. No state budget has passed and Republicans are aiming to put pressure on Senate Democrats and the governor as some lawmakers continue to meet.
RICHMOND (WRIC) - No state budget has passed and Republicans are aiming to put pressure on Senate Democrats and the governor as some lawmakers continue to meet.

But how much is that costing taxpayers?

The General Assembly session ended weeks ago but without a budget, the governor called for a special session to try and hammer out a deal. But the extra days of work do come at a price. For just Monday, it cost taxpayers nearly $30,000 for the House of Delegates to reconvene, and nearly $12,000 for the senate.

The senate has since adjourned for two weeks but house members continue to work to try and come up with a budget.

Rick Tatnall with the government watchdog Better Government Richmond says it's frustrating, not only because of the tax dollars being spent but because of the ripple effect the delay in passing a budget has on localities across the state - localities who are waiting to see how much they're getting from the state.

"So many people are impacted by their inability to pass a budget," he says. "What we're dealing with now wasn't the same, 5-10 years ago, everybody is so strapped, and the decisions that are being made are to the bone decisions, and they can't be the ones that are made at the last minute."

Tatnall says while some lawmakers consider the thousands of dollars spent on a special session a drop in the bucket compared to the millions that are at stake, he still considers it a waste.

"They do add up to a point where they are noticeable, but it's mostly the point of get the job done when they should get it done."

What the final total will be to taxpayers is still up in the air as the senate will reconvene with the house in April and there's still no telling how long it will take before a compromise is met.


Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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