families

Urge Defeat Of Massive Tax Increase!

Yesterday, ten members of the General Assembly presented a "compromise" tax and spending proposal that includes a substantial increase in taxes and fees for a large portion of Virginia, particularly residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Facts about the plan reveal that not all the new revenue is even going to transportation.

Please immediately contact your Delegate (click here) and your Senator (click here) and urge them to vote against this massive tax hike scheme!

Among the taxes that will increase are the state's sales tax, the sales tax on car purchases, and local taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Worse, not all the new revenue will be spent on transportation. According to today's Richmond Times Dispatch:

Not all of the 0.3 percent increase in sales tax goes to transportation. Part of the overall revenue generated by the increased tax would go toward an increase in education funding and other general fund priorities.

The fact is that outside of a constitutional amendment, how Virginia spends our tax dollars can be changed every year through the budget and budget amendments. This plan is no different. In fact, the Senate today again killed, for the second time this session (as it has for years), a proposed constitutional amendment to keep transportation funding off limits to future non-transportation spending whims. So while the fiscal needs for transportation are obvious, those who argue that this plan is going to "solve the problem" of transportation in Virginia are fooling themselves.

This plan is not just a tax increase, but new across the board spending. Make no mistake, if you live in the urban crescent or plan to or need to purchase a new or used car in the future, you are going to pay higher taxes. The idea that our gas prices are going down as a result of replacing the antiquated gas tax with a wholesale gas tax are, honestly, foolish. The plan calls for the elimination of the gas tax (17.5 cents per gallon) with a wholesale gas tax increase, which proponents of the plan indicate will be the equivalent of a 10 cent per gallon tax. The consensus, however, is that the "savings" will not be passed on to the consumer, so we will continue to pay higher prices at the pump.

It's disappointing that those involved in the negotiations of this plan couldn't come up with a solution to our transportation needs that didn't include placing even more financial burden on already struggling families and small businesses in the face of even more national fiscal uncertainty. Unfortunately, there is a lack of political will in Richmond to fix one of the biggest problems we face (outside of federal mandates that continue to destroy our state economy) — an antiquated and irresponsible public school funding formula that costs billions of dollars for more and more administration and fewer teachers. There's no doubt that the issues faced are complex and difficult, but this plan is simply not the best solution for Virginia's families.

Please contact your Delegate (click here) and your Senator (click here) immediately and urge them to vote against the tax increase!

Local Governments Never Go Out Of Business Lobbying Against Your Rights And Interests

Anyone who reads this blog with the slightest of regularity knows that a major issue we've tried to bring to voters' attention is the fact that local governments use taxpayers' money to lobby against their interests, rights and liberty at the General Assembly. Whether it's through direct lobbying or through a collective effort via their associations (the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties), and almost always through both by large cities or counties, local governments actively work to empower themselves at their citizens' expense and use their hard-earned tax money to do so. It's as if they consider themselves apart from the citizenry and look out for their own fiefdoms, while the serfs unwittingly fund their own demise. A case in point was exposed in Tuesday's Washington Post concerning how well Fairfax County fared during the recently completed session, as if the county was a citizen seeking relief from government rather than the special interest local governments have become. While much of the article concerned school funding (which might not be such a problem if local governments and school boards supported much needed reforms) there were two telling sections:

County officials lobbied against a measure that would begin the process of amending the state Constitution to prevent the use of eminent domain for economic development. Fairfax officials said they thought the measure went too far.

As if protecting homes, businesses, farms and places of worship is something that can be negotiated. How would local governments like it if their ability to tax was negotiated? Oh, wait:

(Supervisor Jeff McKay, a Democrat) expressed frustration that perhaps the most comprehensive approach to solving the region's transportation woes was barely given a hearing — a bill put forward by (Democrat Delegate Vivian) Watts that would have changed the way that gasoline is taxed and allowed Northern Virginia to impose certain taxes to fund projects in the region.

If it's not taking your property, limiting your choice in education or the right to spend your money in gargantuan proportions, you can be guaranteed it's always about the right to tax you more (and more and more). Poor, poor Supervisor McKay . . . denied the right to suck away more hard-earned money from his constituents, especially gas taxes as gas station light bulbs blow out staying current with daily price increases on the way to $4.00 a gallon. It's estimated now that 15 percent of disposable income is spent on gas and we can expect food prices (and other items) to continue to climb  as transportation costs skyrocket.

But as families look for ways to make ends meet, pay the mortgage, plan for their children's college and other financial responsibilities, and worry if their jobs, farms or businesses will exist in a week, month or year, local governments continue on. They know their future. As long as they have us to foot their bill, they're golden. After all, has a local government ever gone out of business?

Selective Justice From President Obama And His Justice Department

Last week, President Barack Obama directed the U.S. Department of Justice to relinquish defending the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by Congress in 1996 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  The positive I find in this announcement is that finally the Obama administration is being honest about its hostility toward DOMA — no more halfhearted statements. The negatives, however, are overwhelming.   As I told the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week, the president is responsible for defending the laws duly enacted by Congress. It's disappointing that President Obama would unilaterally make a decision to abdicate that duty. The job of the executive branch is to enforce and defend the nation's laws, not to selectively pick and choose. Thirty-one states have marriage amendments on the books defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Clearly, voters believe that the content of DOMA is a reasonable measure. This administration has been clear on its position on homosexual rights, but they stand outside the majority of Americans.   President Obama's directive could have far reaching consequences. This decision could potentially impact every yet-to-be-decided case related to marriage (including California's Proposition 8 appeal). Essentially, the fully compensated defense attorney is failing to show up for his defendant's court date, an action where the judge would sanction the attorney. In what other area of the law would this be tolerated?    With the president ordering the Justice Department to abandon its duties, the only course of action to defend DOMA is for Congress to intervene. According to Politico, House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican majority on Friday will announce a course of legal action to defend DOMA, perhaps directing the House's legal counsel to defend DOMA in court. (On a side note, this situation perfectly illustrates the importance of elections. Had Nancy Pelosi retained her position as House Speaker, it is highly unlikely that she would even consider defending DOMA in the Justice Department's stead and the fate of marriage would be doomed.)   A breakdown of DOMA ties to a breakdown of American families. There is a litany of statistics showing that a one-man, one-woman marriage is the best institution in which to raise children and to lower the potential for poverty, illiteracy and crime. Even if the president refuses to order the defense of the laws of the land, we must continue to push for the defense of a law that is good for our families, our churches and our communities.

HHS Attempted To Coverup Its Own Research: Abstinence Education Works

The reaction to Tuesday's announcement that Governor Bob McDonnell has applied for federal funds for abstinence-centered education has been intense (see Washinton Post Virginia Politics Blog). As you would suspect, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia have opened rhetorical fire on the governor, as have several leftist blogs and commentators. If you read the comments at the end of newspaper articles (and unless you have a thick skin I wouldn't) you would think the decision to help our teenagers delay sexual activity until marriage is a conspiracy to bring back chastity belts. You may be running into some of the same misinformed rhetoric in your circles, much of it based on false claims or outright deception. Of course, those who profit from risky sexual behavior, Virginia's abortion industry, are viscerally opposed to the idea that teenagers can control themselves. One legislator who works closely with Planned Parenthood and NARAL carried this message (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot):

The reality is with teenagers their hormones come into play, and abstinence-only doesn't always work.

Then again, if they can be taught effective ways of postponing sexual activity it cuts into the abortion industry's profits.

But the primary argument has been that "abstinence education doesn’t work," "parents don't support abstinence education," or "it’s naive to think that teenagers can be abstinent." None of those arguments, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are correct. In fact, this year a study paid for by HHS, and its own recent survey, found that abstinence education is highly effective and widely supported by parents and teenagers (Washington Post).

The HHS survey released late last month (see here) found that 70 percent of parents agreed that it is "against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage" and that "having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do." Adolescent beliefs, according to the survey, were similar.

More interestingly, HHS buried the survey results and was forced to release it to the public only after a deluge of Freedom of Information Act requests (as reported by Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential). Why, one must ask, would HHS not want people to know the results of taxpayer funded research — results that show Americans want and support abstinence before marriage?

Let’s face it, the battle over sex education is indeed a battle of worldviews and a battle for the hearts, minds, and bodies of our children. The fact is that abstinence centered programs do work and they are making a difference — science is showing that. It’s up to us to get the word out.

We hope that if you haven't already, that you please thank Governor McDonnell for taking this strong stand on abstinence education funding by clicking here to e-mail his office. Abstinence opponents are well-funded and are on the attack. We have to show the governor that the families of Virginia appreciate his action. Please contact him today.

Eat, Pray, Love . . . But Especially Pray This Bill Doesn't Pass

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, is doing a lot more than eating, praying and loving these days. She's lobbying on Capitol Hill . . . for something called the Uniting American Families Act (read the bill). Sounds All-American, right? But as one should expect from a bill sponsored by an ultra-liberal such as U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), it has nothing to do with American families. Typical Orwellian speak from the Far Left. This bill would allow homosexual Americans to sponsor their alien "permanent partners" into the U.S. as legal immigrants under the principle of "family unification" (see AOL News). Never mind that U.S. policy does not recognize domestic homosexual partners as families, but now the Far Left not only wants to redefine marriage in America, they want to redefine it internationally as well as redefine long-held and recognized principles of immigration law.

Of course, Ms. Gilbert will draw cameras and probably get booked on every msnbc and CNN show, as well as the brain food known as the "morning shows," perhaps even NPR. She'll add to her celebrity, sell more books and movie tickets, and the Far Left will have a new insta-expert (who knows nothing about the topic) to fawn over. Kind of like when Ted Danson testified before a Congressional committee in the 1990s that the oceans would disappear in 10 years — and was taken seriously — or when Jessica Lange testified about agriculture issues because of the expertise she gained from . . . her role in a film.

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to take the second word in Ms. Gilbert's title to heart to ensure this bill dies the legislative death it deserves. While it may show how far debased our culture has become that a bill like this could even be introduced (especially in this political atmosphere), much less be taken seriously, we still have prayer — and it typically trumps Congressional swoons over celebrity "testimony."

Calling A "Truce" On Social Issues?

Today, as we watch an out of control federal government spend our children's futures into fiscal oblivion, as we watch our own president ignore constitutional principles, and as we watch the greatest expansion of government in our lifetimes and the corresponding loss of freedom it brings — aren't the issues you and I care about, as your teenagers might say, "so yesterday"? I mean, we hear it all the time. From media pundits and politicians — even politicians who used to be one of us — we hear the new mantra that there are "more important issues that need to be dealt with," such as the economy, jobs and our security. However, abortion and traditional marriage — "family values" — are divisive distractions from what really matters.

Just recently, yet another political leader, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels — a "pro-family" Republican mentioned as a presidential candidate — urged us to "call a truce" (see Hot Air) on family issues until the nation's economic problems are solved. After all, aren't we all worried about the economy? Isn't making sure we have jobs so we can feed our families more important right now than so-called "social issues"? (See Weekly Standard.)

That is certainly what the political class in Richmond and Washington want us to think. And wouldn't it be so much easier for them if they didn’t have to be "distracted" by issues that they deem less important than the economy? So, how do I, the president of The Family Foundation, respond to that? Why do I believe our mission is more important than ever and that you need to be a part of that mission?

While there is no doubt that reinvigorating our economy and getting Americans back to work is a high priority, the way to do that is not government programs and giveaways. It is strong families that provide the foundation for financial success (study after study proves it, read here). Let's be frank — no matter how good the economy, our nation is in peril if we continue to ignore God's principles of justice for innocent life and family.

I am increasingly discouraged by what I see around me in our culture and, in particular, the increasing hostility toward religious faith in the public square. Our religious freedom is facing a crucial challenge. I honestly believe that our right to practice our faith — to exercise our religion and voice our opinions in matters of public policy — is in danger. There are a lot of people and groups that want us to shut up and go away. But I can promise you, The Family Foundation is not going away.

We have been here for a quarter of a century and we will be here for another quarter century with your continued help and activism. We are going to continue to fight for values-centered public policy — laws based on our values — regardless of our opponents. We are going to continue to fight for lower taxes, less government, education freedom, strong marriages and, yes, for the unborn, even when it's uncomfortable for the political class.

It isn't our job to make politicians comfortable. It's our job to hold them accountable.

Fimian Receives Cuccinelli Endorsement For 11th District GOP Nomination

There was more big new in the increasingly high profile Virginia Republican 11th Congressional District nomination campaign. Overshadowed by the Tea Party dominated 5th and 2nd district races, Republicans Keith Fimian and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity have methodically raised the decibel level over charges and counter charges of who has raised taxes and who's more electable in the general election against first-term incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly. Today, Fimian made more news: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli endorsed him. His endorsement statement reads:

Today, I am proud to endorse Keith Fimian for Congress. Keith's experience and record of creating jobs here in Northern Virginia makes him an ideal candidate to face off against Gerry Connolly this fall.

Keith is staking out the same conservative positions now as he did in 2008, and his steadfast support of the Constitution is an asset we could use on Capitol Hill. And unlike Gerry Connolly, Keith has shown that he will not change his tune to win votes. He will stand up to the Washington insiders and fight for what is right, no matter what.

As an entrepreneur, small businessman and job creator, Keith Fimian is exactly the kind of leader we need in Congress right now to turn this economy around. He will focus on creating jobs, cutting spending and he'll work hard to get government out of the way of businesses doing business. Keith Fimian is 100% pro-life — he's someone we can trust to always vote to defend our traditional values and stand up for families.

If Republicans are going to make a meaningful comeback in 2010, we need candidates like Keith who will carry their conservative principles to Congress — not return to the business-as-usual politics that lost us the majority in the first place.

Keith Fimian has the qualities and experience we need to win in November. We need Keith Fimian in Congress, and that's why he's earned my endorsement. ...

The endorsement by Cuccinelli, the most popular statewide official among conservative and libertarian activists, and a rare pol not afraid to jump in where principle matters, should be a real asset to Fimian among primary voters. Fimian, who started and runs U.S. Inspect, the nation’s largest provider of residential and commercial property inspection services, ran a spirited campaign but lost the Northern Virginia swing district to Connolly in 2008, a poisoned year for Republicans. The seat was open due to the retirement of former moderate GOP Congressman Tom Davis. It is targeted by state and national Republicans.

Attorney General Cuccinelli To Keynote Prince William Family Alliance Gala May 17

The Prince William Family Alliance will hold its Gala Dinner Monday, May 17, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Manassas. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. with the dinner beginning at 7:30. The Prince William Family Alliance is affiliated with the Family Foundation and has done a tremendous job reinvigorating values voters in Northern Virginia over the last couple of years.  The Gala's keynote speaker is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. His topic will be, "The Constitution: Guardian of our Families." Tickets for the dinner are $50 each, and sponsorships are available. For more information, click here for a full-color Gala invitation flyer that details the event as well as ticket and sponsorship opportunities; read and/or print it, or forward it or this link to interested friends.

The Prince William Family Alliance is a 501(c)4 local grassroots affiliate of The Family Foundation of Virginia. PWFA has influenced public policy in Prince William County for several years. It distributes voter guides every election cycle, monitors local political and policy debates, and helped the Marriage Amendment carry Prince William County in 2006. We hope you will join us the evening of May 17!

Help Direct Virginia In The Right Direction: Commonwealth Looking To Fill Hundreds Of Appointments To Boards And Commissions

Do you want to play a greater role in shaping policy and the Commonwealth’s future? Submit your application or nominate someone to one of Virginia’s 345 volunteer boards and commissions. This is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard on issues that are important to the families of Virginia — issues such as the sanctity of human life, reducing the divorce rate, reforming the education system, streamlining government and saving taxpayer dollars. Nine-hundred appointments will be made by June. To ensure that Virginia heads in a conservative direction, it’s important that pro-family, pro-traditional values applicants apply. These boards and commissions often have a significant influence on enacted policy. In order for the advancement of pro-family values, it is vital that the recommendations and decisions they make reflect what we believe.

The application process begins today and ends on April 15. Click here to visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Web site for more information, position requirements, or to submit an application/nomination. Some boards require certain expertise or geographical representation, so be sure to check the details of each position before applying/nominating. If you submit an application/nomination, please notify The Family Foundation so we can assist in the process where possible.

Some of the specific positions that The Family Foundation believes are important to fill with conservative minds are:

Board of Education, Commonwealth Health Research Board, Board of Social Work, Fair Housing Board, Charitable Gaming Board, all state college and university Boards, the Governor's Advisory Board on National and Community Service, Council on the Status of Women, State Council for Higher Education, Virginia Public Broadcasting, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Biotech Research Park Authority, Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Workforce Council, State Board of Health, Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Counseling, Board of Psychology, Board of Social Services, Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, Board of Trustees, Family and Children's Trust Fund, Commonwealth Council of Aging, Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits, Board of Directors, VCU Health, Library Board, Virginia Code Commission, Virginia Commission on Youth, State Board of Corrections, Criminal Justice Services Board, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Commonwealth Transportation Board, NOVA Transportation Authority, Board of Health Professions, Racing Commission, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, Education Commission of the States, Council on Virginia’s Future, Commonwealth Competition Council, and the Professional and Occupational Regulation Board.

More Can't Miss Video: Senate Finance Committee Empowers Local Government Over Taxpayers!

The crush and pace of the Virginia General Assembly creates a dilemma: We cover a lot of ground and witness a lot of things, good and bad, almost all nearly impossible to relate. We do our best, but we hear it all the time from supporters who come to committee meetings: You really can't believe it until you see if for yourself (at least we have video now). A lot of stuff sits in the file because we're forced to move on to other topics: Such is the pace of 2,600 bills in 60 days. Don't blog something one day, it's old news the next. After all, our first priority is working on legislation. However, several days ago, HB 570 was before the Senate Finance Committee. It preceded this infamous bill hearing (you must see this if you haven't; click here). This bill, patroned by Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach) would level the playing field when property owners appeal their often over assessed homes in order to reduce their already overwhelming tax burdens. Besides, if the government has a good case, it will still win. A no-brainer, right? Not!

Currently, and the way it will now remain for at least another year, the homeowner is the equivalent to guilty until proven innocent, and low-income people can’t even afford to hire an appraiser and other expenses required to overcome the burden of proof. (That's why advocates for low-income families joined us in supporting the bill.) Tellingly, the bill’s defeat was heavily targeted by a plethora of local governments and associated organizations whose goal is to further government’s prosperity and not that of the family or individual. One witness favoring the bill exposed their intentions by asking if they would be against this bill would help them overcome an unfair burden against the homeowner.

Hypocritically, in criticizing the bill, ultra liberal Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington) said that the jurisdictions she represents receive a disproportionate amount of local tax revenue from commercial properties and the bill did not exempt those buildings from the proposed new appeal process. When Delegate Iaquinto said he agreed and would accept that as a friendly amendment, she shot back, “I’m not going to offer that!” More hypocrisy was exposed when Senator John Watkins (R-10, Powhatan) offered a friendly amendment to rectify another complaint. Another ally was Senator William Wampler (R-40, Bristol), who made procedural motions to advance the bill. Yet, the bill still went down on a straight party line vote, 9-5, with Senator Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk) absent from the vote.

But, no need for me to try to capture the ignominy. See it for yourself. The entire debate is below in two parts.

Delegate Iaquinto makes a persuasive, commonsense case on behalf of home owners . . .

then the forces of big government preach government prosperity at the expense of individuals and families. So much for government guaranteeing individual rights and a fair day in court.

Quote Of The Day

Today's QOD comes from this morning's meeting of the House Finance Committee. Committee members at first honored Delegate David Englin's (D-45, Alexandria) request to carry over his HB 275 for the year, a polite way of killing it. But the bill would repeal Virginia's Estate Tax exemption, which would amount to a massive tax increase. Seeing its ultimate demise, he used the out that since it is tied to pending federal legislation, it made sense to see the outcome of the Congressional bill first. But then committee Republicans had a change of heart and decided to have the bill only carried over to another meeting, all the better to get committee Democrats on record for or against a tax increase, especially one that specifically hurts families, small businesses and farmers. Commenting on the lengths the GOP members were taking to reverse course on a bill everyone knows is going about as far as a pro-life bill in the Senate, Delegate Albert Pollard (D-99, Lancaster) said:

I believe Delegate Englin only wanted a blind fold and a cigarette today. 

Deeds: New Job = New Taxpayer

For perhaps the first time in this entire campaign, Creigh Deeds today stated very succinctly the primary difference in economic philosophy between statists (sometimes referred to as "liberals") and conservatives. At a meeting with business leaders in Richmond, Deeds said, "When you create a job, you create a taxpayer." Note that the first thing Deeds sees when someone gets a new job is an opportunity to TAX them! One can almost see him salivating at the potential for more money in the state coffers to spend to keep the unions and to the VEA neutralized. 

Conservatives, on the other hand, see a new job as an opportunity for someone to feed and take care of their families, a chance to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones, a step toward the American dream, a place to learn and develop a skill to be able to advance to even better employment opportunity, and a means to give philanthropically to their church and favorite charities to better society.

Finally, a clear statement from Mr. Deeds. Too bad for him that it reveals his true philosophy.

Deeds Going Through Religious Experience

Not exactly. But this week Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has thrown his fourth Hail Mary by my count. First, his lackluster campaign — a candidate whose idea of a solution to any problem is "to work together with the General Assembly" and who ducks hot issues such as cap-and-trade, card check, FOCA and nationalized health care, richly deserves the "lackluster" moniker — ran the abortion play. Sacked! Then came the "Bob McDonnell is George Bush" play. Sacked! Of course, there's the thesis play, as complicated as Al Groh's three-quarterback-spread-offense and not nearly as effective, especially since Deeds voted for the Marriage Amendment twice and has displayed his own views against (his words) "special rights" for homosexuals. Now, Deeds is running radio ads claiming that McDonnell is a tax increaser, despite the fact that Deeds has voted for almost any bill that would have raised any tax over the last eight years, including the 2004 record $1.4 billion tax increase. He also backed each one of the Tim Kaine/Dick Saslaw tax increase proposals, including a $1.015 billion increase that would have raised gas taxes ever year for five years when gas was near $3.00 a gallon (SB 713/2008).It would have cost Virginia families as much as $624 more per year in year five. 

All hypocrisy aside, if McDonnell is a Bush clone and Bush cut taxes (which ruined the economy, according to Deeds) where is Deeds' logic? According to Deeds, tax increases are good! That's why he's proposing another one if elected! Besides, if Deeds wants to throw federal issues into the race, shouldn't he answer to the above policies his party is pushing in Washington (including cap-and-trade which would shut down the largest employer in his senate district)?

Seems to me that Senator Deeds, instead of throwing Hail Mary's, should be praying them instead.

Virginia News Stand: April 13, 2009

Welcome back to the work week. We hope everyone had a Blessed Easter and that the meaning of The Resurrection will not be a fleeting moment, but rather one that continues to resonate within our consciences throughout each and every day of our lives. For those travelling with their families, or for other reasons, we hope Easter week brings safe travels. Now, back to work: The state's unemployment insurance program is running low on funds, yet Governor Tim Kaine wants to expand it (and raise job-killing taxes to do it); there's a push by medical professionals to maintain their conscience protection safeguards (see our statement), the culture war rages on, and the Tea Parties have begun!

News:

State's jobless fund expected to run dry (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine hopes to work with GOP on jobless benefits (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Some lawmakers vow to fight on for $125M in jobless aid (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Ralliers brave rain, cold to protest govt. spending (The Daily Press)

Lawmakers on the hunt for jobs, too (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Medical Providers Urge Obama to Save 'Conscience' Rule (FoxNews.com)

Faith Groups Increasingly Lose Gay Rights Fights (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Taxes and Tea Parties: America Gets Ready to Rumble (The Loft/GOPUSA.com)

The Unreported Cause Of Inflation

Everyone is concerned about inflation and well they should. It's a debilitating monetary disease that cripples the value of money: One can earn more money in a given period but still have less purchasing power when inflation infects the economy. It hurts working families and endangers what parents can provide for their children. Inflation comes in many forms, such as commodity-based inflation (such as what we are experiencing now with oil prices affecting almost everything type of product). Economists are good at tracking the causes of inflation and how much those causes tack on to the prices we eventually pay at the cash register. Then there are the demagogue politicians who scream for windfall profit taxes to punish companies that charge to keep up with demand for their products while ignorantly using the phrase "windfall profits." (Hint: it doesn't mean "large profits.")

However, in all the media circus, what never gets reported is the biggest cause of price increases: Taxes. That's correct. The largest percentage cost of most items is the added cost created by excessive taxes. Unfortunately, economists never factor taxes into inflation rates.

Into that breech steps Americans for Tax Reform. Here are some shocking examples, courtesy of ATR and FiscalAccountability.org, of how much taxes increase some very basic products and services:

Cable Television Service: 46.3%

Cell Phones: 46.4%

Hotel Rooms: 50%

Car Rentals: 60.6%

Soft Drinks: 37.6%

Restaurant Meals: 44.8%

Gasoline: 51.2%

Landline Phones: 51.8%

Domestic Air Fare: 55%

The figures include the cost of sales taxes, corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen's compensation taxes and other payments to federal, state and local governments. Not that taxes aren't necessary to pay for necessary and proper functions of government, but is there any excuse for government to punish its citizens by limiting their ability to save, invest and spend their hard-earned money for what they want and for how they want to provide for their families with such excessive ad-ons to the actual production and service costs of a product?

So with all the speechifying about making "corporations pay their fair share" be aware of how much that fair share is inflation in the form of high taxes. Let's call that government-inflicted tax inflation.

Audio: Victoria Cobb Interview On Governor's Spending On New Pre-K Program

On August 8, 2007, Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb was interviewed by Scott and Richard Lee on their highly rated talk show "Saturday Mornings With The Lee Brothers" on WRVA-AM/1140 in Richmond about Governor Tim Kaine's government expansion into Pre-K education. Although it was conducted about 10 months ago, this interview is very timely today as Governor Kaine (contact him here) reflexively seeks a massive tax increase on Virginia families, obstensibly to finance transportation improvements. The topic presciently was brought up even in this August interview . . . . Why begin new state programs that don't work and no one wants? Why not use that money for transportation instead of jacking up our tax burden yet more?

Scott Lee coins a great new phrase in this interview which we may unashamedly appropriate for ourselves. Even more presciently, he claims rightly:

The best government is the one not in session.

Are you listening General Assembly (contact here) and Governor Kaine? You meet in the winter, not June.

The interview lasts about five minutes. You can listen to it by clicking here.

More print, video and audio interviews with Family Foundation spokesmen, as well as other interactive features, are at our new Online Newsroom and Online Library.