U-S- Supreme Court Kelo decision

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.

Virginia University Gets Grant To Teach Capitalism

We don't know if — in this day and age of "spreading the wealth around" and taxing to death middle-class working families, family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and regular folks who aspire to build or buy their own business, and government intervention into everything else — the recent announcement that Radford University soon will offer courses in capitalism is heartening news or not. On the one hand, we're glad someone is taking the initiative, especially at the university level, where so much seems to be left-wing, politically correct dogma and indoctrination, to teach what this country was built on — free-market, free-enterprise capitalism. On the other hand, given that it is at a university, are we sure free-market capitalism will be taught by people who believe in it?

Most importantly, however, why isn't capitalism already taught there and, since it must not be if this is a new program, what does pass for economic academics there?

We do rest assured about one thing: this new economics program, which will focus on global competitiveness, is off to a good start because it is funded by a $750,000 grant from banking giant BB&T. Why does that assure us? Simple: BB&T Chief Executive Officer John Allison, the company's CEO since 1986 (despite the average bank CEO tenure of about four years), has a stellar and principled track record.

For starters, in the wake of the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision which allowed local governments to seize private property and give it to other private entities, he created a policy that BB&T would not finance any developments on land taken by such cruel means. More recently, he's been a great steward of his company — with a policy of not providing the type of risky loans that have blown up the housing market and our financial system, leaving his bank in excellent condition; which also means he's not taking any of our tax money from the government bailout of those who practiced irresponsible and/or predatory lending practices. He did all this while driving the bank from regional to national status.

The BB&T grant also includes the BB&T Global Capitalism Reading Area in McConnell Library and a BB&T Global Distinguished Lecture Series. While it makes sense that a business committed to free-market capitalism would fund this type of program — that it may be in its self-interest to do so — it also is vastly disappointing that the state must rely on it to do so. With the hundreds of millions of Virginia tax dollars going to higher education, not to mention families' money for tuition, it also is in the commonwealth's self-interest to teach capitalism correctly (given our own budget debacle). We can see the mess societies get themselves into when they don't. Just ask B&T's competitors. Just ask yourself where $1 trillion of your tax money has just been appropriated.