- Associated Press - Sunday, December 2, 2012

RICHMOND — Virginia state government agencies have sent Gov. Bob McDonnell suggestions for cutting their spending by more than $132 million over the next 18 months should spending reductions be needed to balance the state budget.

Shortly after the Nov. 6 election, Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, cited the potential of deep federal spending cuts in the absence of a congressional debt-reduction deal in ordering department heads to prepare contingencies for cuts of 4 percent.

The governor could implement all the cuts, some of them, or change any of the recommendations. Or, if revenues remain on track or ahead of appropriations as they were through October, Mr. McDonnell could impose none of the cuts.

Spokesman J. Tucker Martin said the proposed spending cuts, released to reporters late Friday, are only advisory, submitted for the governor’s information, and that Mr. McDonnell has requested similar spending-reduction contingency plans in each of his three years in office.

The largest share of the recommended cuts — 40 percent — totals nearly $53 million from public-safety agencies. More than half of that amount, about $30 million, would come from the Department of Corrections.

Health and Human Services agencies would lose $34 million, representing one-fourth of the total cuts. The deepest cuts would come from the Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth ($10 million) and grants to localities ($8.8 million).

Nearly $9.8 million would be cut in appropriations for offices such as sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney and circuit court clerk.

Other proposed savings include $324,000 to the State Board of Elections budget that is used to help local electoral boards compensate people who work the polls on Election Day.

Education programs would lose up to $4.4 million, with $1 million coming from the Library of Virginia, cuts that could force six layoffs. Central office operations would be trimmed by about $900,000.

Recommended cuts to transportation, by contrast, totaled only $1,210.

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