This is great news, both in practice and symbolically. The new governor of Virginia aimed to save $40,000 from his transition budget, but managed to save the taxpayers $80,000 through a system of scrimping that taxpayers will no doubt appreciate during these tough times:
The grungy office space, used supplies and limited freshening of the official gubernatorial quarters paid off...
That $80,000 -- enough to cover the average salary of two entry-level teachers -- will revert to the general fund if not used by June 30. That's the same general fund that lawmakers are trying to plug through $4 billion in cuts.
"We tried to be creative, cut out what we didn't need, and looked for new ways of doing things and covering costs," McDonnell said. "It added up to some saved dollars, and I appreciate what our team was able to do."
McDonnell has also cut salaries in his Cabinet, and taken a pay cut, himself. Both his Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli saved a nice chunk of their transition budgets as well.
Some of the savings in McDonnell's budget came from the use of "donated services" to move him from his Henrico County home into the Governor's Mansion? I would have loved to find out McDonnell invited over a group of neighborhood and church buddies to move his stuff in exchange for beers and pizza, but it looks like a Virginia company donated its services to the governor.
The Times-Dispatch detailed the frugal transition back before McDonnell had exceeded his savings goal. Some, particularly liberals, will say $80,000 is nothing but gimmickry and symbolism, but a) it's real money and taxpayers will recognize that and b) this is exactly the kind of anecdote that sticks with voters. McDonnell is wise to communicate fiscally conservative values in ways both big and small:
Inside well-worn state office space with bare walls and shabby carpet, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's transition team is using leftover campaign office supplies and state surplus office furniture that is decades old.
Only parts of the administration's future home in the Patrick Henry Building will get a fresh coat of paint, and the McDonnell family is looking to design on a dime at the Executive Mansion.