Traditionally, conferees to reconcile the differences in the House and Senate versions of the budget are not named until after the budget bills have been amended in the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees, crossed over to the opposite house, and then rejected. Based on the legislative schedule approved by the Joint Rules Committee earlier in the year, the day for naming of the budget conferees would have occurred around Feb. 21.
This year, House budget conferees were named last week, following the release of December revenue data by Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner. Wagner’s letter to Governor Tim Kaine contained news that revenue collections through December were the weakest since December 2002 and that the national economic picture was not improving. Once January’s revenues have been tallied, a midsession revenue forecast process will occur and be released on February 15. Speaker of the House William Howell released the names of House budget conferees in a press release shortly thereafter, and urged the Senate to name conferees and for the two groups to begin their discussions.
House budget conferees are Delegates Lacey Putney, Phillip Hamilton, Kirk Cox, Johnny Joannou and new appointees Beverly Sherwood and Clarke Hogan. Senate budget conferees will be Senators Charles Colgan, Edward Houck, William Wampler, Walter Stosch, and new appointees Janet Howell and Kenneth Stolle.
Posted by Ellen Davenport