RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 500 state workers will lose their jobs and some state correctional facilities will close as a result of Governor Terry McAuliffe's budget cuts announced Wednesday. A majority of the jobs cuts, more than 90 percent, will come from the Department of Corrections resulting in the closure of the Powhatan Correctional Center, the White Post Diversion Center and the Cold Springs Work Center.
"This was their recommendation to us," Governor McAuliffe said about the cuts at the Department of Corrections. "They know the capacity needs. We are accepting their recommendations."
The governor's office said a portion of the nearly $2 billion budget gap, over two years, was due to less income taxes being collected than previously anticipated.
"My goal was to keep lay-offs to a minimum and protect our core services," the governor said. "The 565 lay-offs that will result from these actions comprise just half a percent of our state workforce of 120,000 full time equivalents, both wage and salary."
To save money the governor outlined the following steps:
- We are improving business practices and efficiencies
- We are eliminating unneeded contractors, including outside consultants and attorneys
- We are leaving vacant positions unfilled.
- We are using nongeneral fund money instead of general funds when feasible and allowed by law or contract.
Some of the cuts that would impact Central Virginia include:
- Postponing upgrades to Virginia.org, a tourism website last updated in 2010
- Reducing general maintenance expenses and staff at the Science Museum of Virginia
- Cutting art education program, postponing the Making America exhibit and leaving positions unfilled at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Increasing product mark up at Virginia ABC stores
- Selling a Richmond-based Virginia State Police airplane and filling only 27 out of the 68 vacant trooper positions.
State Police use their airplanes for a variety of tasks including to monitor speeders on Virginia interstates.
"State police will be placing its 1972 Cessna 182 single-engine fixed wing aircraft up for auction as part of a cost-savings initiative," Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. "This is one of three fixed-wing aircraft in the state police fleet and is housed at the Department’s Lynchburg Aviation Base. The remaining two aircraft will continue to be utilized for traffic enforcement and criminal investigative matters."
The governor said the markup at Virginia ABC would help generate $2.5 million for the state.
"The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is determining implementation details on the distilled spirits markup that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced earlier today," Virginia ABC spokeswoman Kathleen Shaw said. "As part of that process, ABC will be seeking comment from its stakeholders, including vendors, suppliers and industry representatives, and working with them to accommodate their business needs."
Shaw said the last Virginia ABC markup was 4 percent and occurred in 2008.
"Over the next few weeks, ABC’s executive leadership team will make a final decision about the increase and its effective date," she said.
"Making these budget reductions has been the most difficult experience of my term so far," the governor said. "In a government as lean and well-run as ours, there are few spending cuts you can make without impacting the lives of Virginians."
Watch CBS 6 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for updates on this developing story.