finance secretary

Virginia News Stand: December 3, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Looking For A Legacy

After a lull in state news, it all came bursting out today with Governor Tim Kaine (contact) trying to steal his successor's thunder — and continue to leave himself a peculiar legacy. Before the Thanksgiving break he hinted he would include tax increases in his last budget. He confirmed that today with proposals to repeal certain tax credits. Bad enough. But then he moved on to the social side and wants to extend state benefits to domestic partners. As we noted last week, he's going out as he came in. It wasn't a pretty picture then, it's not now, either.

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, on the other hand, who opposes these measures, proceeded to announce the first several appointments to his administration, including Governor Kaine's finance secretary. At least for now, until the budget is dealt with. Meanwhile, The Daily Press previews what will amount to a GOP victory weekend celebration party in Williamsburg this weekend at its Annual Advance. But the campaigns aren't over. Robert McCartney of the Washington Post takes a look at the 37th Senate District special election, and wonders — hopes — Dave Marsden can excite Northern Virginia liberals to the polls. He doubts it.

Nationally, as we mentioned Tuesday, same-sex marriage bills are meeting resistance in, of all places, New York and New Jersey. Yesterday, the New York Senate officially killed it with amazing bi-partisan support. But, as we all know, no one cares about the "social issues." Elsewhere, ClimateGate continues to unfold in unpleasant ways for the left, while two other horrendous bills are flying under the radar in Congress, both of which we should all be concerned about: a "cyber security" bill, that could curtail individual liberty, and the "Non-Discrimination Act," which is anything but, of course.

News:

Gov.-elect McDonnell opposes Kaine tax break repeal in next budget (AP/WSLS.com)

Va. budget to test McDonnell's stance (Washington Post)

Kaine proposal: extend state benefits to domestic partners, other adults (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Gov. proposal offers state's coverage to more adults (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell announces first round of appointments (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Kent likely to get chief of staff nod Thursday (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell keeping Kaine's financial chief, temporarily (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

McDonnell expected to fill two positions (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia GOP huddles in Williamsburg (The Daily Press)

National:

NY traditional marriage supporters celebrate (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

'Cyber threat' bill a threat itself (OneNewsNow.com)

UK University to probe integrity of climate data (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

In Va. Senate race, Democrats get another chance (Robert McCartney/Washington Post)

The discriminatory 'Non-Discrimination Act' (Matt Barber/OneNewsNow.com)

ClimateGate: NPR sees silver lining (Larry Elder/OneNewsNow.com)

2012: Is the Sky Really Falling? (Dave Sterrett/Rightly Concerned Blog)

They Call It Fiscal Responsibilty; We Call It Socialism (David Limbaugh/Rightly Concerned Blog)

The VEA: We Teach The Children, But We Still Need To Learn How To Read Ourselves

Oh, boy, this is too funny and the headline possibilities are endless. Feel free to suggest some on your own. This is what's gone down since Monday involving the Virginia Education Association Fund and the lieutenant governor's campaign: On Monday, the VEA Fund president, Kitty Boitnott, issued a statement announcing that organization's endorsement of Democrat Jody Wagner over Republican incumbent Bill Bolling. Big surprise there, huh? In the endorsement, Dr. Boitnott wrote this about the lieutenant governor's record when he was in the Virginia Senate:

Lieutenant Governor Bolling had a 49.66% VEA voting record in his ten regular sessions and two special sessions in the Senate of Virginia. Notable votes include:

• Voted against paying Virginia's teachers the national average salary (2004 - SB 1285)

Uhhh, small problem with that . . . as in, there was no SB 1285 in 2004. There was a SB 1285 in 2005, however, to raise teacher salaries, but . . .

Ooooops! . . .

 

Bolling voted . . .

For it!

 

You know, it's not real hard to read the vote totals of a General Assembly vote — especially when it was adopted unanimously! You see, they have one line for all the "Yeas" and another for all the "Neas" (see here.) When all names are listed in the "Yeas" and none are listed in the "Neas," it's pretty difficult to misread that.

Yesterday, the VEA Fund issued a correction by e-mail, but it's not posted on its Web site (unless it's in an out of the way place), while the original news release with the incorrect information remains. But, like all good comedies, there's more. The desperate Wagner campaign immediately jumped on the news release and began touting the incorrect information. As of a few minutes ago the VEA Fund's release, with the incorrect claim about Lieutenant Governor Bolling's record, remained prominently in place on Wagner's home pagewithout a correction.

We already knew Wagner couldn't do math — as Governor Tim Kaine's finance secretary she consistently missed revenue projections that have led to a cumulative budget deficit of around $6 billion, and required several in-year cuts. (As of yesterday, per the governor himself, another $1.5 billion in cuts will be announced in September, and the fiscal year only began on July 1.) But now, apparently, her campaign is proving equally inept at fact checking because it's being led by an organization for teachers that can't read.

If Only Wagner's Revenue Projections Were As "Clear," Or, A Campaign Without Communication . . . Yet!

If you haven't heard it by now, and you want a good laugh, listen to Democrat lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner's interview this morning with WRVA's Richmond's Morning News host Jimmy Barrett (click here). Barrett gets right to the point and asks the former Kaine administration finance secretary about her missed revenue projections, which have resulted in consecutive budget deficits and multiple budget cuts. I'll give her some credit for her answer — she's at least learned something from the Obama administration, and that's the one thing it's good at: blame, blame and pass the buck, with a litany of boilerplate liberal excuses:

» It was the Bush administration's fault (at least twice);

» At least Virginia isn't as bad off as some other states (that'll make people feel secure);

» Passed the buck to economic forecasting agencies, business leaders and groups, and General Assembly leaders (how about that, Dick Saslaw?);

» But the 6.6 percent revenue growth projection in a slowing economy never gave her pause, even as many in the General Assembly warned the Kaine administration it was too high (she emphatically was "not overly optimistic"); and 

» Repeatedly said, "Let's be clear," (to the point where Barrett mockingly repeated it himself).

Not to mention her defensiveness when Barrett tried to loft her a softball about her campaign — she thought he was trying to blame her for the recession, for which she blamed George W. Bush (again).

All these excuses inevitably led to contradictions. Follow this bit of illogic: If it's the federal government's fault when things are bad, she must then credit it when things are good; if so, we have no reason for state government. So why is she running? She also got defensive when Barrett mentioned the recession came into focus a year ago, and rudely interrupted him to say she wasn't in office then, as well as when he simply asked how forecasts might be improved in the future.

But we still haven't heard the classics from her! Here goes:

On the grossly inaccurate revenue forecasts: 

"If I'm powerful enough to be personally responsible for that, then you want me to be your lieutenant governor."

Then, the absolute best for last: On the Public Policy Poll (a liberal pollster) that shows all three Democrats behind by double digits:

"The Democratic candidates have not yet begun communicating with the public yet and we will be doing that as the campaign moves along." 

So, that entire primary thing back in June was a what? Those television ads she ran . . . ? Those campaign appearances and interviews . . . ?

There you have it. It has nothing to do with her previous job performance, but that she and her ticket mates haven't yet communicated with the public. Don't worry, though. They plan on it. But with interviews like this, Ms. Wagner may want to delay that communication as long as possible.

BREAKING NEWS: McDonnell, Bolling, Cuccinelli All With Huge Leads In WDBJ-TV/SurveyUSA Poll

A just released SurveyUSA poll for Roanoke CBS television affiliate WDBJ-TV/7 has all three Republican statewide candidates up by double digits. Gubernatorial candidate, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds, a senator from Bath County, by 55 percent to 40 percent.

Incumbent Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, running for re-election, leads his Democrat opponent, former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner, 54 percent to 42 percent.

Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli, a senator from Fairfax County, leads Democrat Steve Shannon, a delegate from Fairfax, 53 percent to 42 percent.

The poll asked 526 voters, "If the election for (office) were today, who would you vote for . . . ?" with the names rotated each question and with the candidates' party identification preceding their names. There is a margin of error of 4.3 percent for the first two, and 4.4 percent for the AG race.

One thing comes quickly to mind: This early in a campaign, normally there are much more undecided voters, especially when choosing between two names with whom they may or may not be familiar. The fact that SurveyUSA used each candidate's party label may be the reason for the high positive numbers for the GOP candidates given the consistent downward plunge in the favorable ratings of President Barack Obama, for his government takeover schemes in manufacturing and finance, and now in health care; as well as Governor Tim Kaine's unpopularity for his job sharing as Democrat National Committee chairman, Virginia's constant incorrect budget revenue forecasts, and the state's IT contract controversy with Northrup Grumman.

Here's more analysis from Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo. According to the poll's internals, 14 percent of those who voted for Mr. Obama last year now say they will vote for McDonnell, while 9 percent who voted for Republican Senator John McCain last November will vote for Deeds. SurveyUSA last polled the gubernatorial race after Deeds' Democrat primary victory in early June. At that point, McDonnell led by 47 percent to 43 percent.

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.