RICHMOND, Va. -

The state's budget shortfall could top $2 billion over the next three years. Now, Governor Terry McAuliffe is telling state agencies to begin preparing for cuts.

McAuliffe is ordering his agency heads to cut their budgets 5 percent this fiscal year and 7 percent next year.

Delegate Chris Head is a member of the House Finance Committee. "Generally speaking when you are forced to dig and make those cuts, you can find them," Head told WDBJ7. "The only difficulty is that this is the same song, now the 3rd or 4th verse. So we're really going to have to get a lot more efficient."

Delegate Charles Poindexter is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He says the first year is tough, but manageable with cuts of about $250 million. He worries more about what's coming down the road.

"The larger problem is the year after," Poindexter said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. "If the economy doesn't bounce back during the next 8 or 9 months, the $550 - $650 million we'll have to cut in the following year, that will be much more painful. "

"Governor McAuliffe is working with the General Assembly to balance the budget responsibly, while prioritizing investments that are key to economic growth," said McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy. "He is focused on creating jobs and building a new Virginia economy that is stronger and less exposed to external forces like federal sequestration cuts."

McAuliffe has directed agency heads to present their budget plans by September 19th.

----------------------------------------------------

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is ordering his agency heads to cut their budgets 5 percent this fiscal year and 7 percent next year to cope with an $880 million budget shortfall.

McAuliffe's chief of staff, Paul Reagan, sent to a memo to agency chiefs on Friday ordering them to come up with suggestions on what to cut.

Reagan said suggested budget plans could include increasing fees for outside parties.

The agency heads were directed to submit their proposed budget plans to the governor's office by Sept. 19.