Virgina AG announces belt-tightening measures

Nick Rees Sep. 26, 2008, 11:29am

Bob McDonnell (R)

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) -- Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has announced that his office will cut its general fund budget by more than 9 percent -- a move aimed at easing the state's budget woes.

The Republican attorney general also said Thursday he will return his official state car and reduce his salary.

McDonnell, who is running for governor in 2009, cut his salary by 2 percent. The office's budget was cut by more almost $3.8 million while increasing proposed budget cuts for the next two years by 14.1 percent. A 5 percent general fund budget cut for the Office of the Attorney General was ordered by McDonnell last year.

Returning the 2005 Ford Explorer driven by the attorney general will save $5,000 over the course of McDonnell's term. In addition, 10 of the executive attorneys in McDonnell's office reduced their salaries by 2 percent, saving the state $17,000.

Other budgetary savings were accomplished by establishing a hiring freeze within the office, leaving vacant positions unfilled, reducing reimbursement rates for travel and eliminating several fax machines and phone lines.

"With a potential $3 billion shortfall looming these reductions represent a small part of any solution, but as stewards of taxpayers' money it is important that we do our part," McDonnell said. "We have taken prudent but aggressive management actions to streamline operations without affecting service to our clients."

Portions of the AG's $72 million biennial budget come out of state general funds, so they are subject to the budget cuts. The remaining non-general funds come from, among other sources, the federal government.

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