As McAuliffe Restores Voting Rights To Felons, Virginia Faces $1.5 Billion Shortfall

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 25, 2016 11:15 AM
As McAuliffe Restores Voting Rights To Felons, Virginia Faces $1.5 Billion Shortfall

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, through the power of the autopen, plans on restoring the voting rights of convicted felons. The first batch of 13,000 are already set, with a total of 200,000 convicts being granted individual pardons to ensure they can participate in the voting process. While McAuliffe makes sure these newly enfranchised felons, who are most likely to register as Democrats, boost the voter rolls, the state faces a $1.5 billion shortfall (via Richmond Times Dispatch):

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce a shortfall of roughly $1.5 billion in the two-year state budget to the General Assembly money committees on Friday, according to a source familiar with the revised revenue forecast.

The governor will reduce anticipated revenues by about $850 million in the current fiscal year in response to a shortfall of almost $270 million in the year that ended June 30 and increasing pessimism about growth in income and sales tax collections. He will reduce projected revenues in the second year by about $630 million.

[…]

The size of the projected shortfall comes almost two weeks after McAuliffe consulted with state political and business leaders in a meeting that one legislator called “cautiously pessimistic” about Virginia’s economy, especially with the possibility of potential cuts in federal spending under budget sequestration in the budget’s second year.

In the last fiscal year, total state general fund revenues grew about 1.7 percent, lagging well behind the forecast of 3.2 percent growth.

McAuliffe had planned on issuing a blanket pardon to those 200,000 felons, but was stopped by the state Supreme Court after the Virginia GOP, claiming he overreached, filed a lawsuit. The court agreed, so McAuliffe circumvented it with these individual pardons. Well, nothing we can do about that now, but I would hope Terry does something sensible about the budget shortfall. I’m not betting the mortgage on it.