gas prices

Notice Those Gas Prices?

If you've filled up at the pump recently, you've noticed that it's costing a lot more. In fact, according to AAA, gas prices have risen 31 consecutive days. Unfortunately, if some members of the General Assembly have their way, the impact on your family is only just beginning. As we enter the final week of the 2013 session, the topic of funding transportation dominates. Currently, ten members of the legislature, five from each chamber, are meeting to work out a plan based on legislation introduced on behalf of Governor Bob McDonnell and several other proposals. If they can come to an agreement, the plan they concoct could be voted on very quickly, with little time for legislators or citizens to look at the details.

Some members of both parties want to hike the gas tax, either directly or through "indexing" it to inflation. The governor's proposal would eliminate the gas tax but replace the revenue with an increase in the sales tax. Other elements being discussed include giving local governments the authority to "raise revenue," i.e. raise your taxes, without having to do it through referenda. The price tag on the competing plans comes in somewhere between $800 and $900 million per year in increased funding for transportation, the majority of which comes from increased revenue.

While there is little doubt that transportation is an issue that needs addressing, we urge the General Assembly to keep in mind the devastating effect increased gas prices have had on Virginia's families and small businesses. Increasing that burden even more during a time where some are predicting $5 a gallon gas prices by the end of the year could have a disastrous effect on Virginians. We recognize that there are serious needs in the area of transportation and are hopeful a plan can be agreed to, but it cannot unduly increase the financial burden on our struggling families.

Please contact your Senator (here) and your Delegate (here) and urge them to not increase your taxes in the transportation plan!

Virginia News Stand: April 27, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Northrop Grumman Day In The Commonwealth 

At VITA, of course, every day is Northrop Grumman Day, but there is legitimate news to celebrate: A major domestic corporation, a Fortune 500 company, that does business all over the world is moving its HQ to our commonwealth. Of course, to get it to move here, we're giving  away 14 million taxpayer dollars and a labyrinth of incentives, tax credits, etc., Wouldn't it be simpler to do away with — or at least greatly reduce — the state corporate income tax? A discussion for another day.

Elsewhere, we make the news in the Old Dominion Watchdog, Governor McDonnell is asked to lift the ban on State Police Chaplains praying in Jesus' name, and how much real estate does the commonwealth own? Norman Leahy, of Tertium Quids, asks. Speaking of such, is the governor going to sell the gubernatorial retreat? Say it ain't so! As usual, our Commentary section is loaded, with Bobby Eberle returning from hiatus and Thomas Sowell as brilliant as ever.

Lots of National News to contemplate, including two GOP insiders in serious trouble in Senate primaries, more about the health care law not doing all it said it would (except for the tax increases, of course), President Obama uses divisive identity politics for partisan political gain, and a commission meets at taxpayer expense to figure out how to reduce the national debt. I'll do it for free: CUT SPENDING!

News

*Lawmakers restrict public funding for abortions (Old Dominion Watchdog)

Northrop Grumman picks Virginia for headquarters (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell, Northrop confirm company has chosen Virginia for headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Va. offered Northrop Grumman up to $14 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia gives Northrop Grumman up to $14 million to move headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell considers sale of gubernatorial retreat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

On role of federal lawsuits to AG's term, Cuccinelli and Democrats agree (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell asked to lift a ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Off-track betting center proposed at Innsbrook (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Sullivan seeks GOP nomination for Chesterfield House seat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Virginia's messy real estate portfolio (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)

National News

Arizona pushes immigration politics to forefront (AP/GOPUSA.com

McCain: Arizona had to crack down on immigration (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP prevents cloture on Democrat financial regulation bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama panel weighs politically toxic deficit fixes (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Some families will face wait to cover young adults (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Free speech versus kids and violent video games (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama asks specific Americans for help in 2010 (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Coats favored (barely) in crowded Indiana GOP primary (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

With Obama, It's Always 'His' People vs. 'Those' People (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Filtering History (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Are Americans Going John Galt? (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

Obamacare Revealing Changes to Come (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Sends in the Clowns (J. Matt Barber/GOPUSA.com)

Cut Gas Prices Now (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

National Debt — The Real Dirty Little Secret (Thomas D. Segel/GOPUSA.com)

Interview With DPV Chairman Dickie Cranwell, Part 2

Yesterday, familyfoundation.org posted the first of a two-part interview with former House of Delegates Majority Leader and current Chairman of the Democrat Party of Virginia Dickie Cranwell. You can read it here. Previously, we posted an interview with Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Hager (click here for part one and here for part two) as well as one with Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge) who is challenging Mr. Hager for the RPV chairmanship. (Click here to read that interview.) With this interview, the three men who will lead Virginia's two major parties into the 2008 and 2009 elections are on record on this site.

Here is the conclusion of our interview with Chairman Cranwell. We look forward to your comments to what we think are some interesting responses to our questions.

familyfoundationblog.com: What is the biggest family-value issue facing Virginia today and how do Virginia Democrats propose dealing with it?

Chairman Dickie Cranwell: The economy — Democrats want (1) to fix the mortgage crisis; (2) tax cuts for middle class; (3) let the Bush tax break for the wealthy 1% of Americans expire; (4) end the war and use the money tied up by the war and tax breaks for the wealthy to rebuild America's infrastructure creating tens of thousands of jobs, and, last but not least (5) get gas prices down to realistic levels so working people can survive.

familyfoundationblog.com: What and who are/were your political and philosophical influences? What was it that influenced you to go into public service?

Chairman Cranwell: Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman. My mother (Republican) and father (Democrat) both felt we as Americans are obligated to give back to our community, state and country. Hopefully I have honored their wishes and their memory with my 30 years of public service.

familyfoundationblog.com: What do you think the Democrat Party of Virginia should stand for and why do you think it best represents the interests of Virginians?

Chairman Cranwell: The Democratic Party of Virginia stands for the working family — men and women who work every day, pay their taxes and their dues — we stand for a decent wage for the working man and woman to support their family, a world-class education for their children, and fiscal responsibility. Virginia Democrats produced a balanced budget every year during the almost 150 years they controlled the Virginia General Assembly, without having to extend the legislative session as the Republicans have done repeatedly since they have been in power. Democrats best represent Virginia's interest because, as our Democratic leaders have shown, Democrats put people before politics.

familyfoundationblog.com: Have you sent your congratulations to Chairman Hager on his impending inclusion into the Bush family? Has he invited you to any weekends in Crawford or Kennebunkport yet?

Chairman Cranwell: I have not sent John Hager congratulations on his son's marriage to George and Laura Bush's daughter. I know that John knows I wish them all the best. I consider John Hager a friend and enjoyed my years of service with him in the General Assembly. He is a good, decent, hard-working man who the Republicans would be smart to re-elect as party chair. I have no invitation to Crawford or Kennebunkport and I expect none, however, I expect the wedding party will be great fun and will be the source of some fond memories in the future for both the Bush and Hager families.

Interview With DPV Chairman Dickie Cranwell, Part 1

We are pleased to post here our interview with former House of Delegates Majority Leader Dickie Cranwell, chairman of the Democrat Party of Virginia. We will post it in two parts, concluding tomorrow. The questions and answers appear exactly as submitted. We think you will find his comments very interesting and worthy of discussion and debate. We look forward to your feedback. With this interview, all three men who are, or will be, leading the Commonwealth's two major parties for the next year are on record on this blog. Previously, we posted an interview with Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Hager (click here for part one and here for part two) as well as one with Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge) who is challenging Mr. Hager for the RPV chairmanship. Click here to read that interview.

familyfoundation.org: You've had a distinguished career as an attorney, legislator — the House Majority Leader, in fact — and party chairman. With the Democrats making so many gains in Virginia over the last few years, why retire as party chairman now?

Chairman Dickie Cranwell: I never sought the position of Chair of the Democratic Party. Governor Warner asked me to fill the unexpired term of Kerry Donley. I agreed to serve until a new Governor was elected. Governor Tim Kaine's vision for restructuring the Democratic Party agreed with mine so I agreed to stay on until Donley's term expires in 2009. Hopefully the changes in the Democratic Party which have occurred during my tenure have made the party stronger and more candidate friendly.

We have taken back the State Senate, elected the last two governors and a U.S. Senator. And, I anticipate Virginia will elect Mark Warner as its next U.S. Senator and at least one new Democratic member to the House of Representatives this year. I also believe Virginia will be in play in the Presidential race, something that has not occurred since Lyndon Johnson.

The party is in good shape and I have boys, ages 8 and 10, so there is a lot of baseball and soccer to occupy my time. I am just stepping down. I am not retiring from the field of battle. There is a wealth of talented people in the party who can carry on the work of the Chair. I look forward to those folks' continued success.

familyfoundation.org: U.S. Senator Barack Obama has said we are now entering a post-partisan era. Does that mean that parties no longer will be partisan? Do you agree, and if so, what does that mean for political parties? (For example, what will it mean for the parties' ability to organize, recruit candidates and fund raise?) If not, what are the parties' role in policy debate in general?

Chairman Cranwell: I believe you either misstated or do not understand Senator Obama's message. He says we have to get beyond the Beltway mentality; that Democrats and Republicans need to work together to rebuild a shattered economy, end an ill-conceived war, save working people's homes from foreclosure, rein in the oil companies to drive down the price of gasoline and stop the hemorrhaging of debt inflicted on us by the Bush Administration which has mortgaged the future of every child in America.

Senator Obama's message is that we are Americans first and foremost and, if we work together, nothing is beyond our reach. I believe in the two-party system and believe it will continue to serve America well, but the parties must be willing to work together for the American people.

Governor Mark Warner proved this by working with the Republican majority in the General Assembly during his term. As a result, a $6 billion hole in the budget was fixed. 

Along the way, Warner chaired the National Governors Association, leading a national high school reform effort to meet the challenges of a global economy. He was named among Governing Magazine's "Public Officials of the Year" in 2004, TIME Magazine's "America's 5 Best Governors" in 2005, and Newsweek's "Who's Next" issue in 2006.

While Warner was governor, Virginia was named "the best managed state in the nation by Governing Magazine, and the "runaway winner" in the new "Best State For Business" ranking done by Forbes, based on the tax structure, education system, and bipartisan fiscal management the Warner administration had put in place. Education Week Magazine named Virginia as the best place for a child to be born in terms of educational opportunity during Warner's tenure as Governor.

familyfoundation.org: We see Senator Obama and Senator Clinton trying to answer the concerns of values voters, a demographic Republicans typically win. What do Democrats in Virginia and nationally have to do to appeal to people with concerns over abortion, marriage and pro-family issues?

Chairman Cranwell: Voters who are pro-family should be flocking to Democrats. Democrats understand that having a good paying job is central to any family. Democrats understand that we must act to protect the largest investment of most families (their homes) from foreclosure. Democrats want world-class health care and education for every American. Families want to know that if their home and life is destroyed by natural disaster, their government will not take years to help them rebuild their communities. They know they can count on Democrats to make FEMA really work for the working man and woman.

Governments Unbothered And Unrestrained

What do you call a quarter of (however small) gross domestic product growth, rising worker productivity and dropping labor unit costs (an inflation factor); a month with a lower unemployment rate, rising factory orders and increased consumer purchases; two straight weeks of declining unemployment insurance claims and a year of increased wages? If you're a liberal running for office or a member of the Mainstream Media, it's a recession. The economy surely isn't in great shape with gas prices as high as they are, along with rising ethanol production decreasing food supplies and increasing food prices (thanks environmentalist wackos). But by no statistical measurement are we in a recession — yet.

We're not the only ones who think that. A major institution agrees: Government.

Perhaps nothing is more disturbing during these unsure economic times than the fact that government, at all levels and across all regions of the country, continues to add jobs to their bureaucracies. According to a recent analysis of all employment sectors, despite the job reductions and efficiencies the private sector has been forced into — created primarily by government policies of high taxation, artificially high energy prices because of a lack of domestic production, and rising food prices because of farm subsidies to grow corn for ethanol at the expense of other crops — the public sector (i.e., government) continues to grow!

Here's an excerpt from an AP dispatch (emphasis added):

On the jobs front, construction companies slashed 61,000 positions in April. Manufacturers cut 46,000 and retailers got rid of 27,000. Those losses were eclipsed by job gains in education and health care, professional and business services, the government and elsewhere.

For what good reason is government growing? If not now, in an economic slowdown, then when will governments clamp down and do more with less? Will it ever stop adding to its payroll? In Virginia, we face a governor and certain legislators ready to jack up the gas tax as that commodity makes its way to $4.00 per gallon.

So it seems government is un-bothered about the slow economy and unrestrained in its appetite to confiscate from those it purports to serve. These same state and local governments complain of tight budgets and revenue shortages, while they rake in ever more money in higher real estate and assorted state and local taxes from hard working families having enough of a time filling up their cars with gas. Politicians always brag about balanced budgets. But balanced budgets don't mean a thing when they grow each year by taking more than is needed from hard working families to fund bureaucracies. That's never right, even in good times. It's especially cruel when times are tenuous.