Yesterday, we posted part one of a two part interview with Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester). The questions focused on SB 417, the Virginia Health Care Freedom bill she patroned, and which is on its way to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature. The bill preserves the freedom of Virginians from federal mandates to buy health insurance. Today, we ask Senator Vogel about state spending and the budget, de-funding Planned Parenthood and eliminating the state corporate income tax. FamilyFoundationBlog: Will the General Assembly eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood this year? It was so close two years ago, but now we have a pro-life governor. How will having a pro-life governor affect this particular budget policy getting approved?
Senator Jill Vogel: I hope so. I introduced a budget amendment on the Senate side that would de-fund Planned Parenthood. But in the Democratic controlled Senate it is more of an uphill battle. No question, having a pro-life Governor makes a difference and no doubt, it is a razor thin vote in the Senate.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Over a period of about 10 years, state government spending nearly doubled. Will the Virginia Senate take advantage of the budget gap now to not just make cuts to programs, which still leaves them in place to grow again in the future, but make permanent changes that eliminate government involvement entirely where government truly is not needed so as to put a brake on future state government growth?
Senator Jill Vogel: I think that this awful economy and terrible budget environment has a silver lining. We have the leverage to make changes in the size and structure of government that will bring long terms savings and shrink the size of government.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Every year we see the governor and General Assembly pass targeted tax credits to create jobs or "invest" in business recruitment funding to lure businesses to Virginia. Instead of spending taxpayer money and quibbling over targeted tax credits that are not broadly based and how much to fund — and what to name — the Governor's Opportunity Fund, why not cut or eliminate corporate taxes? They are the biggest hindrance to job creation. Corporate taxes need to be looked at as a business expense. If a CEO knew he could move to Virginia where his company would pay no corporate tax, and his company could then realize a bigger profit, that would lure many more times the businesses to Virginia than any targeted incentive. Should the General Assembly and Governor McDonnell be so bold as to support Delegate Bob Purkey's HB 119?
Senator Jill Vogel: I support the bill and you have said it better than I could. Targeted tax breaks may solve a short term, narrow objective. But let’s be practical and consider that a broader perspective, where we address the issue of corporate taxes head on, brings substantial long term benefit and would be a real game changer when businesses out of Virginia decide where they want to invest.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Senator Vogel, thanks a million for your time and your insights into this year's session. Thank you also for your constant support for family values and limited, constitutional government. We look forward to a productive and successful session in advancing these shared principles.
Senator Jill Vogel: Thank you so much for the questions. It is a great honor to get to serve my district in the Senate. I take my responsibility seriously and I appreciate the opportunity to partner with you on so many issues that matter to my district. Take care and stay in touch.