By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA — With the largest percentage of federal workers of any state, Virginia plans to buy more time if the national government shuts down Monday night.
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office directed state agencies to “cease incurring obligations and expenditures against federally funded programs or grants for which federal funding has not already been approved or received.”
But McDonnell’s office added, “Agencies may continue federally funded state employees on the payroll through Oct. 4 in order to prevent unnecessary furloughs so long as the agency can absorb the costs.”
“It is our hope that this will give budget negotiators additional time to reach a resolution of the budget impasse,” chief of staff Martin L. Kent said in a memo.
Tucker Martin, McDonnell’s communications director, told Watchdog.org Monday morning that contingency funding is available to bridge a short-term fiscal gap, though he said there are no immediate plans to spend those funds.
Martin said $22.5 million is in a Federal Action Contingency Trust. If necessary, $6.2 million would go to the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach and $3 million would go to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.
Most of the remaining funds “would be held in reserve to offset losses of revenue either directly or indirectly related to any actions of Congress as part of federal budget reductions,” Martin said.
Another $2.3 million in economic contingency money is also available, he said.
Kenric Ward is a national reporter and Virginia Bureau Chief for Watchdog. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
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