Virginia Governor Gives 3 Percent Bonus to 117G State Employees

RICHMOND, Va -- Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday Virginia state employees will not get a  pay raise any time soon but on Wednesday, more than 117,000 eligible state government workers will get a one-time bonus.

The boost comes from a state surplus that McDonnell attributed to employees.

"This was an incentive to cut spending," he told WTOP radio station based in northern Virginia. "What I want to do is create a system so that we don't have that massive spending at the end of the fiscal year ... We cut $10 billion out of our budget. They saved another $175 million on top of that mark, and so that's where the bonus was paid -- out of the savings that was generated out of our state employees."

In a statement issued before Thanksgiving, McDonnell announced that eligible state employees will receive a one-time, 3 percent bonus.

"This is the first pay increase that you will receive in four years, and it was made possible because of the reported $403 million surplus at the end of the fiscal year ending in June 2010. Together, we followed prudent budgeting practices and controlled state agency spending," he said.

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The Virginia budget that began July 1 met the state constitution's balanced budget requirement without raising taxes. McDonnell said the surplus comes from $228 million in new revenues and $175 million in savings.

The Republican governor also defended President Obama's federal workers' wage freeze for the next two years, calling the $13.5 trillion federal debt "immoral and unsustainable."

"We've got to take this kind of action," McDonnell told WTOP. "It's a prudent step, it's a good start, but they gotta do a whole lot more than that if they want to get this budget deficit under control and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington."