RICHMOND, VA - Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) today welcomed legislative actions that return over $6 million in legislative branch savings to the general fund by June 30, 2011. The Joint Rules Committee, which the Speaker chairs, voted this morning to return $5,584, 395, including $1.3 million from the Auditor of Public Accounts, $2.3 million from the Virginia Capitol Police, $727,344 from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and $673,266 from the Division of Legislative Automated Services, among other legislative branch agencies. This afternoon, the House Rules Committee voted to return $500,000 to the general fund as agreed to earlier this year in the current Appropriations Act. Since 2003 when Howell became Speaker, the House alone has returned over $6.0 million to the General Fund. "As the national economy continues to limp along, state lawmakers must make the same difficult decisions as families which means trimming budgets, saving wherever possible and doing more with less," said Speaker Howell. "Reforming government and reducing costs are high and ongoing priorities for me and my colleagues in the House. We are pleased we've been able to reduce government spending, in turn easing the financial burdens weighing on taxpaying-families, businesses and citizens across the Commonwealth. Perhaps Washington also will recognize that reducing the size, cost and scope of government requires similar actions to those we've taken today."
The Republican-led House of Delegates, under Speaker Howell, has made reduction of costs and increased governmental efficiency a top priority, without undermining fulfillment of the House's constitutional duties.
Since 2003 when Speaker Howell was first elected to his current leadership position, Virginia has improved its national ranking - dropping from 40th to 46th in the nation in per capita spending on its legislature, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia is the 12th largest state in population.
In the most recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, the budget for the General Assembly and all legislative agencies was less than one-half of one percent - 0.46% - of the total General Fund budget of $14.8 billion.