Yesterday, after weeks of refusing to enter into specifics on the budget, Senate Democrats sent an open letter outlining fifteen demands as a prerequisite for their consideration of the budget.
I do stress consideration, since Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw is still playing coy. As reported in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
, "Asked whether the list of budget demands is enough to get a positive budget vote, or whether Democrats are also asking for committee seats, Saslaw was noncommittal. 'Life is a negotiation, so we will see what we will see,' he said. 'But the bulk of this is going to have to get done.'"
So are Democrats backing off their decision to hold the budget hostage to their demands for more political power? That remains to be seen. Senator Saslaw has been in the Senate for 32 years, and he knows full well that the appropriate time for presenting these demands has long past. The Senate Finance Committee took up the budget in early February, but Senate Democrats were silent, holding out for committee assignments and nothing else.
As Governor McDonnell's spokesman Tucker Martin put it, "They burnt down the whole house and suddenly they're concerned about what happened to some of the furniture?" Still, I thought you might want to see just what they're demanding.
Therefore, my office has tallied up the Senate Democrats' budgetary demands, which would add about $489.1 million in new expenditures and create a $360.7 million budget gap. I'm sure that much more discussion of these matters will follow, but for now, I wanted to provide you with a "cheat sheet
" to let you know what it is that Senate Democrats are demanding, and what it will cost. Click here
to view my cheat sheet on the Democratic budget demands - and let me know what you think!