|1. Closing the hospital for mentally ill children and adolescents in Staunton means everyone who works at that facility, which served more than 600 children last year, will be out of a job.
2. In Bedford County, which voted overwhelmingly for Bob McDonnell in November, the superintendent has already proposed the elimination of 124 full-time jobs, including 67 classroom teachers, and the closing of two schools. That was before McDonnell decided to cut an additional $365 million from state school funds this year. That scenario will play out in every school district in the state. (By the way, Bedford County is growing rapidly in population and school-age children.)
The Virginia Education Association has estimated that the $730 million two-year cut in K-12 education funding could result in the loss of more than 28,000 jobs.
3. McDonnell wants to completely eliminate money for nine programs serving the poor and needy. Jobs will be lost, as the state ends its contribution to help pay for homeless shelters, domestic violence prevention, the Healthy Families Initiative, local free clinics and dental care for poor children.
Trish O'Brien, executive director of CHIP/Healthy Families in Chesapeake, said that if legislators approve the governor's proposed cuts, she will have to fire half of her staff members, who check on 3,000 children in at-risk families throughout Chesapeake. Job losses like that in social services will take place all across the state, as well.
"Higher education has already suffered deep cuts in state aid. Colleges and universities have to be strong in order to attract businesses and new jobs. I don't feel that state colleges and universities should have to give back even more funding."
Oh, yes they do. Deputy Secretary of Finance Craig Burns confirmed that McDonnell's proposed budget amendments leave intact former Gov. Tim Kaine's funding cuts to public institutions, as well as a plan to take 5 percent of mandatory student fees paid to universities. Radford, the University of Virginia, James Madison University and George Mason University will be hardest hit by the student fee plan.
McDonnell also recommended cutting $1.5 million from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, $6.8 million from the Eminent Scholars recruitment and retention program, $1.3 million from the state's higher education centers, and $19.8 million from the Tuition Assistance Grant Program that which subsidizes in-state tuition at private institutions.
"I firmly believe in the concept of transparent, nonpartisan redistricting done by a bipartisan commission. I have even proposed a detailed plan for such a commission."
Actually, McDonnell refuses to back the bill creating a bipartisan commission that has passed the State Senate and has been sent to the House of Delegates.
"I am committed to streamlining government services while meeting the demands of our most vulnerable citizens."
No, he's not committed to meeting the demands of the most vulnerable in the state. Rather, he appears to be showing the same disdain toward public charity that he had when he wrote his infamous thesis for Pat Robertson's school. Perhaps that's the real Bob McDonnell, after all.
I'll close with the comments of others, comments published today in the Virginian-Pilot.
State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax County) said McDonnell's proposed reductions slice "the heart and soul" out of state government.
"To even put school lunches on the table has got to be the most insensitive thought of the session, because that school lunch is the only decent meal some of these kids are going to get in a day's time," Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) said.
According to Betty Wade Coyle, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads, "It's scaling back direct services to children and to the most vulnerable citizens in the community."
Maureen Hollowell, who advocates for disabled people through the Norfolk-based Independence Center, said 6,000 disabled and elderly people who receive services through a "consumer directed" program that allows them to hire their own personal care assistants would lose their funding under the governor's proposals.
"This is our third 5 percent cut in a year and a half," said Kathy Drumwright, deputy director of human services for the city of Virginia Beach. "Each cut is painful and it gets more and more painful. We are getting to the bone."
"Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?" Then he will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me." - Matthew 25: 44-45