Rainy Day Fund

Deeds Desperate? Accepts "2-Percent" Potts' Endorsement

On the heels of what surely was a shocking setback to his campaign Monday — Democrat activist billionaire Sheila Johnson's endorsement of Republican Bob McDonnell for governor — Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds announced his own predictable list of former-Republican-legislator supporters. The lone somewhat surprise is former Senator Brandon Bell, but considering his record of voting for tax increases, perhaps not. The leader of the group is John Chichester, the former-Democrat-turned- Republican-who-endorses-Democrats. His lackey, independent Russ "2-percent" Potts, also is among Deeds' supporters. (Is Deeds' that desperate?)

But the news here is that the endorsement and Deeds' embrace is more twisted, more convoluted, more hypocritical and more disingenuous than anything politic in Virginia since Mark Warner promised not to raise taxes (or since Governor Tim Kaine said he wouldn't, or since he said his DNC work wouldn't interfere with his gubernatorial duties — take your pick):

From today's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star:

The legislators will help form "Virginians for Deeds" and according to a press release, support "Deeds' efforts to carry on the tradition of keeping Virginia a low-tax state and the ‘best state for business'."

Then . . .

Chichester, who retired in 2007 after nearly 30 years in office, said in a telephone interview that he's backing Deeds over his own party's candidate, Republican Bob McDonnell, because of Deeds' support for Chichester's budget plans during tough fiscal times earlier this decade.

Those "budget plans" were? . . .

In 2003 and 2004, Chichester — the powerful leader of the Senate Finance Committee — was a key player in the passage of a package of tax increases. ...

Not just any tax increases. They were the largest in Virginia history and during a time when the budget was in robust surplus! So, Deeds wants to keep Virginia a "low tax state" but embraces Chichester, Potts and a host of the largest taxers and spenders in Virginia history? Huh????????????

Now, let's not forget the second part of that equation. It's not only the tax increase. It was the spending of it! Virginia was in a surplus, then raked in $1.4 billion more in taxes. Then those same men — Chichester, Potts, Bell, Marty Williams and others in this disgruntled group, as well as Deeds — spent it all and then some, raiding the Rainy Day fund to its lowest level ever!

Others in the group include pro-abortion, pro-homosexual "marriage," and tax-and-spend liberal Republicans such as Warren Barry, Panny Rhodes, and Jim Dillard, and liberal independent Katherine Waddell.

These former office holders are discontented former Republicans who lost primaries to conservatives or retired when they saw primary defeat coming, and haven't supported Republicans in years. They call themselves "Republicans" to give their predictable endorsements of liberals a lame attempt at relevance. But the only people they are relevent to are the liberal Mainstream Media who play up the ideological lovefest as if it's extraordinary. It will be interesting to compare the media coverage this gets as compared to the media coverage Sheila Johnson's endorsement of McDonnell received.

Great Question!

For some reason, former Governor Jim Gilmore's administration of Virginia's finances remains a preoccupation among Virginia's liberals. More than 10 years later, they can't stop whining about the car tax cut and continue to fabricate its supposed harm to Virginia's fiscal health. Recently, the Washington Post went out of its way to hammer at the former governor again for his tax cut in its endorsement of Jody Wagner for lieutenant governor in the recent Democrat primary. It called the largest tax cut in Virginia history "risky fiscal policy." (Funny how liberals think keeping more of your earned income is "risky" while they laud as responsible tax increases, which stifle economic activity.)

The former governor fired back in a letter to the Post that he added $1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund (which Governor Tim Kaine has all but depleted thanks in large part to the faulty revenue projections of Ms. Wagner when she was finance secretary); that since he's left office, under his two successors, state spending has increased from $51 billion to $77 billion; and that under Ms. Wagner and Governor Kaine we have seen a deficit of $3.7 billion, while he left his budget in balance. He quotes Business Week as listing Virginia now as one of "twenty states that can't pay for themselves."

Then Governor Gilmore caps some compelling statistics with a stinging question:

In contrast, my administration delivered a car tax cut, with bipartisan support, that has helped millions of Virginians. But this tax cut has been a burr under the saddle of liberals for 11 years.

It's time for liberals to put up or shut up. Why don't they just reimpose the car tax if they truly believe it was "risky fiscal policy"?

Great question. If the car tax cut has been such a disaster, we welcome liberal candidates for any office anywhere in the Commonwealth to make its reinstatement a top priority.

Three Proposed Constitutional Protections From Government In Senate Committee Tomorrow Afternoon!

Thursday, we let you know about three important proposed constitutional amendments that passed the House and now are on the way to the Senate. You never know about the pace of the General Assembly, especially right after crossover, so guess what? All three of those CAs incredibly important reforms are on the docket tomorrow, at 4:00 p.m. in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.  Please contact members of the committee and voice your support for these constitutional amendments (see committee here), as soon as possible, up to early afternoon tomorrow. Remember, if these proposed amendments fail, it may be another two years before we can even get the process going again.

All three of these proposed amendments to Virginia's Constitution have something in common: Protection. Protection from eminent domain, the government taking your or a friend's private property, whether commercial or residential; protection from profligate government spending — a taxpayers' bill of rights, so to speak (necessary when Virginia's budget has grown 80 percent during the last 10 years); and protection from mismanagement of our dedicated transportation funds.

Here's a summary of the three:

HJ 725, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle) would provide protection from the government's power of eminent domain, and protect the 2007 law protecting private property rights from tampering by future General Assemblies. That law was a reaction to the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, which allowed a local government to take private property and give it to developers. Just as the Marriage Amendment was needed to protect Virginia's marriage statutes, the 2007 private property law needs constitutional protection. This session alone has seen two bills (HB 1671 and SB 1094) that would have weakened it (we were able to amend them into acceptable bills). So it is obvious this constitutional protection is needed.  

HJ 789, patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) would limit spending to the preceding year's total appropriations plus an amount equal to the percentage increase of inflation plus population growth. It makes exceptions to provide tax relief, deposits to the "Rainy Day Fund" and nonrecurring capital projects. With state spending increasing more than 80 percent over the last 10 years, we need this constitutional protection from the big spenders in Richmond. What family budget has grown that much that fast?   

HJ 620, patroned by Delegate Glen Oder (R-94, Newport News), is another protection against greedy government big spenders. It would put all tax revenues designated by law for transportation in a "lock box" so that they cannot be spent on earmarks, pork or for other areas of the budget, only for the big spenders to claim they need more money for transportation. When campaigning for governor, Governor Tim Kaine said he wouldn't raise taxes until the "Transportation Lock Box" was in place. Of course, he rescinded that promise only a few hour after being sworn in.       

So, please contact the committee members as soon as possible and ask them to vote for these constitutional amendments tomorrow in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.

Three Constitutional Amendments To Go On Trial In The Senate

The pace remained settled in Capitol Square today as committees in the two chambers prepare for the grind of hearings next week on bills passed in each other's chamber. We've reported on a number of successes over the first half of session, both in good bills that passed and bad bills killed. Also in the mix are three proposed constitutional amendments we support, all of which passed the House earlier this week and now begin their trials in the Senate. To amend the constitution of Virginia, a proposed amendment must pass the General Assembly in exactly the same form — a comma can't even be changed — in two sessions with an intervening statewide election, and then approved by the voters in a statewide ballot. So it's nearly a three-year process. It's not the easiest thing to do, as we know from the Marriage Amendment.

HJ 725, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle) would provide protection from the government's power of eminent domain, and protect the 2007 law protecting private property rights from tampering by future General Assemblies. That law was a reaction to the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, which allowed a local government to take private property and give it to developers. Just as the Marriage Amendment was needed to protect Virginia's marriage statutes, the 2007 law needs constitutional protection. This session alone has seen two bills that would have weakened it (we were able to amend them into acceptable bills). So it is obvious this constitutional protection is needed.

HJ 789, patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) would limit spending to the preceding year's total appropriations plus an amount equal to the percentage increase of inflation plus population growth. It makes exceptions to provide tax relief, deposits to the "Rainy Day Fund" and nonrecurring capital projects. With state spending increasing more than 80 percent over the last 10 years, we need this constitutional protection from the big spenders in Richmond. What family budget has grown that much that fast? 

HJ 620, patroned by Delegate Glen Oder (R-94, Newport News), is another protection against greedy government big spenders. It would put all tax revenues designated by law for transportation in a "lock box" so that they cannot be spent on earmarks, pork or for other areas of the budget, only for the big spenders to claim they need more money for transportation. This way, we know that our hard-earned tax money is going to where lawmakers say it is going. Then, and only then, if they need more money for transportation, can they in good conscience ask us for a tax increase.   

All three of these commonsense and much needed reforms and protections will be heard in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee (get members' contact info here), perhaps as early as next week. Please contact the committee members to urge them to report these resolutions to the Senate floor.

Is The Governor Fiddling?

Is Governor Tim Kaine fiddling while Richmond burns? While he lays off 570 state government employees (see Washington Post, here), many of whom are in the all important corrections field, because of a budget deficit he caused by ignoring projections of a severe revenue shortfall so he could start new, unwanted programs such as Pre-K education, His Excellency is heading this weekend to Arizona and Colorado to campaign for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama. It was his hyper campaigning for Senator Obama during the primaries, then his self-promotion campaign to get himself on the Democrat ticket as its vice presidential nominee, that many say got Governor Kaine into this budget mess. That is to say, he took his eyes off his duties for the glamor of presidential politics. Whether that's true or not, it is certain that he obstinately refused to listen to many sane voices in the General Assembly to scale back his spending plan (the budget is based on revenue projections). He didn't and here we are, eliminating security jobs and closing prisons instead of eliminating social engineering programs.

More savings Governor Kaine said he's found are in the elimination of unfilled jobs. How this saves money since no salary is spent on people who aren't working is confusing at best. Phantom savings? But don't forget about his cutting the bottled water shipments to Capitol Square offices (see Richmond Times-Dispatch, here).

The governor also will use bonds instead of cash to pay for construction which will pile up further debt to be repaid later. Funny how it's fine to use debt to build monuments — uhhh, make that buildings to name after politicians — but can't be used for transportation which is a necessity and government responsibility. It also begs the question, why is our government so big that we are constructing more state buildings? (Buying them, too: The state just bought the high-rise Verizon building in downtown Richmond.)

Another major component of Governor Kaine's budget balancing is his raid on the Rainy Day Fund, which is budget surplus; in other words, our tax money which just sits in an account, not to be refunded when we have annual surpluses, but to be used to continue feeding the government beast when the economy turns south and the politicians don't think they can tax us any further. 

Governor Kaine's actions haven't been too popular, to say the least, with state government employees and others. Now the interesting part really comes into play: Will his barnstorming for Senator Obama while the state's budget deficit explodes have any backlash on Senator Obama in Virginia? It's a tune we're waiting to hear the fiddler play while the fire rages on.