March 07, 2012 - 12:57 pm

BY OLYMPIA MEOLA

A collection of business groups are the latest to put pressure on state lawmakers to pass a budget bill — on time.

Without a budget, Virginia’s sterling bond rating and “the prestige and reputation as the best state for business” could be threatened, the groups wrote in a letter dated March 5 to Virginia senators.

Among the signatories are the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Technology Council, National Federation of Independent Business and Virginia Retail Merchants Association. 

Barry E. DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said his organization is also sending out an alert to have members contact senators. The 30-plus groups that signed onto the letter, mainly local chambers of commerce around the state, represent more than 50,000 businesses, he said.  

“Failure to pass a budget in a timely manner will be disastrous for the economy of Virginia and the services on which our citizens depend,” said Bobbie Kilberg, president and CEO of the NTVC.

On Tuesday, the Virginia Association of Counties held a news conference and pressed lawmakers to adopt a budget sooner rather than later as well. 

Senate Democrats, in an evenly divided chamber, have voted down both House and Senate alterations to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s two-year budget. The House has since passed its version of the budget again and sent it over to the Senate.

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Saturday.