taxes

The Pols Are Out And So Are Their Grades: American Conservative Union Releases Virginia General Assembly Scorecard

The General Assembly wrapped up its 2013 business, officially, April 3, at the conclusion of the "Veto" session. Since then, a flurry of scorecards have been released by several organizations, including the Family Foundation's late last week. Usually released throughout the year to coincide with fundraising galas, elections or other events, many organizations this year dropped their ratings in advance of the Republican Convention this weekend and the June Democrat primary. Today, the American Conservative Union released its third annual Virginia General Assembly Scorecard (click here for complete results). The ACU, founded in 1964 by a coalition of prominent national conservative organizations, is known for its annual Congressional Scorecard, considered the "gold standard" of Congressional ratings. In 2011, it decided to take that success to the state level, with a goal of annual rating all members in each of the 50 state legislatures. That year, it graded five, Virginia being the first of those (this  year it will score 20). Consequently, the General Assembly is the first to be scored three times — more firsts for the Old Dominion.

The ACU Scorecard offers three awards: Defender of Liberty Award, for those who score 100 percent; the ACU Conservative Award for those who score above 80 percent, and the not-so-coveted True Liberal of the Commonwealth Award for those who get a zero — and there are a few of those. However, the number of members in both chambers who scored 80 or higher dropped precipitously, with some who have reputations as conservative stalwarts not even even getting to 80 percent.

The reason? Not only were there several immensely important and substantive votes this year on significant policies with massive ramifications, they were voted on multiple times. For instance, the tax increase bill (HB 2313) was voted on three times (scored twice). An ironic twist is that the House budget, which normally rates as a support because of its pretty tight spending parameters and policy language, was opposed by the ACU when it came out of conference committee with the Senate, specifically because the rejection of the Medicaid expansion was stripped out. That also got a second vote because of a gubernatorial amendment. The Obamacare health insurance exchange also made the list and several conservatives got nicked on that, as well.

The ACU Virginia Scorecard is not only the most comprehensive one of its nature in Virginia — complied annually, with more than 20 floor votes on everything from spending, taxes, education reform, securing voting rights, second amendment rights, religious liberty, right to work, life and marriage, and all else that make up the conservative agenda, it's one the most comprehensive state scorecard in the country, as many legislatures, especially part-time ones, rarely let so many significant votes get to the floor. The ACU only scores floor votes and does not score unanimous or immensely lopsided votes, nor partisan votes, with the exception of significant policy shifting bills.

In a statement released today by the ACU, its Chairman Al Cardenas, said:

On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Virginia General Assembly. For 40 years ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of Old Dominion so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our third year rating the Commonwealth, we applaud conservatives in the Virginia General Assembly who continue to fight against higher taxes, against Obamacare and for the rights of the unborn.

The ACU's philosophy in its scorecard system is to track . . .

a wide range of issues before state legislatures to determine which issues and votes serve as a clear litmus test separating those representatives who defend liberty and liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles — constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional values. The votes selected for our Virginia Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

The Defenders of Liberty Award winners are:

Delegates Rob Bell, Ben Cline, Scott Garrett, Todd Gilbert (TFF Legislator of the Year Award winner), and Margaret Ransone; and Senators Tom Garrett, Jr., Mark Obenshain and Ralph Smith.

ACU Conservative Award winners are Delegates Richard Anderson, Richard Bell, Kathy Byron, Mark Cole, Barbara Comstock, John Cox, Mark Dudenhefer, Matt Fariss, Peter Farrell, Greg Habeeb, Chris Head, Tim Hugo, Sal Iaquinto, Steve Landes, Jim LeMunyon, Scott Lingamfelter, Bob Marshall, Jimmie Massie, Jackson Miller, Randy Minchew, Israel O’Quinn, Brenda Pogge, David Ramadan, Roxann Robinson, Nick Rush, Beverly Sherwood, Lee Ware, Jr., Michael Webert, Tony Wilt, and Tommy Wright, Jr.; and Senators Richard Black, Steve Newman, Richard Stuart, Bryce Reeves, Steve Martin, Bill Stanley, Jr., and Ryan McDougle.

The highest scoring Democrats were Delegates Johnny Joannou and Joe Joe Johnson at 73 and 64 percent, respectively. The both  topped some Republicans, such as Delegate Chris Jones, who scored only 60 percent. Delegate Jones wasn't alone. Speaker Bill Howell only managed to match Delegate Joannou. Senate Republicans saw similar slippages. For example, Senators Jeff McWaters and Frank Ruff, who had scored at least 80 in the first two scorecards, dropped to the low 60s. Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Senator Harry Blevins, who retired recently in mid-term, scored 60 and 57 percent, respectively. Senator John Watkins rated a dismal 48 percent.

Last year, more than 70 Republicans from both chambers scored 80 percent or higher. This year, only 45 did.

The members who earned the True Liberal of Old Dominion Awards are Delegates Delores McQuinn and Roslyn Tyler; and Senators Kenneth Alexander, Janet Howell and Linda Puller.

Important Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Limit Taxes And Size Of Government In Senate Committee Tomorrow!

Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee will consider a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government growth and taxation. HJ 594 is a taxpayer bill of rights that limits the amount of money the state government can spend in a year to the preceding year's total, plus no more than a percentage increase based on the rate of inflation and population growth. Patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond), the resolution cleared the House earlier this session, and is a vital measure to limit the size of government. Although the Virginia Constitution requires a balanced budget, it does not prescribe certain methods that the General Assembly may use to achieve it. Politicians in years past, as well as this year, have pushed hard for big tax increases to cover their even bigger spending ideas. The annual transportation debate is a perfect example. A constitutional cap on how much of our money they can spend will force them, finally, to prioritize their spending decisions each year instead of going to the well of Virginia families' hard-earned money.

When general fund revenue rises 19 percent, as it did in January, and we are running annual surpluses, there should not be a need to raise taxes for core functions of government. Governments rarely have revenue problems. They have spending problems. If they can’t draw the line on what's too much, we taxpayers, their bosses, will do it for them.

Please contact your senator on the Privileges and Elections Committee and urge him or her to vote yes on this important constitutional reform to limit the size and scope of state government.

Governor McDonnell Touts Virginia, Criticizes Dem Governors

In case you missed it, Governor Bob McDonnell appeared on the Fox News Channel morning show Fox & Friends yesterday to tout his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night and Virginia's budget surplus. He also took the opportunity, when the opening was given, to take a polite shot at some of his Democrat colleagues who've raised taxes in their states over the last year.

Friendly interview: Governor McDonnell had a receptive forum for his message — cut spending, don't raise taxes.

Tea Party Queen Radtke Files Paperwork To Run For U.S. Senate

As we speculated previously (here and here), Jamie Radtke, the organizer of the successful Virginia Tea Party convention in October, will run for office. Specifically, for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 Republican primary, eschewing a 2011 primary opportunity in the 10th Virginia Senate district against GOP incumbent John Watkins. At least, today, she filed the official paperwork to declare her candidacy for that office (see Anita Kumar at Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). In a statement, she said:

I am the mother of three young children, and my first priority is both to protect them today and protect their future. I truly worry about what the next five years holds for our children and the nation, given this climate of reckless and immoral spending. Someone must step into the gap so that our children and America are not crushed in the coming years under the weight of insurmountable debt and debilitating taxes. 

The front runner is former governor and senator George Allen, who lost the seat in 2006 to the incumbent, Democrat Jim Webb. Delegate Bob Marshall and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart also are considering a run. Hampton Roads businessman Bert Mizusawa, who lost the GOP second district House nomination to now Representative-Elect Scott Rigell, also may throw his hat in the ring. However, former 11th district Representative Tom Davis seems to have taken himself out of consideration, preferring instead, "to have left Congress undefeated and unindicted. You like to keep it that way."

Mark Warner's Confused

I happened across a fascinating statement by our self-described "radical centrist" U.S. Senator Mark Warner in a well-done weekend post-election analysis piece in the Roanoke Times. Here is the paragraph:

But Democrats struggled with their message this fall, especially when it came to the economy. [Senator Mark] Warner said that when he would tell audiences about middle class tax cuts and homebuyer tax credits pushed by Democrats, "you still get people looking at you askew." The party could not persuade voters that it had the country on the right track. (emphasis added)

Beside the fact that the Senator is parroting the Democrat talking points about "not getting our message out" (does anyone really buy that line anymore?), or the whole bizarre concept that Democrats actually think the country is on the "right track," I find Senator Warner's statement about tax cuts especially comical. I have a guess as to why no one would listen to our senior Senator on the subject — he lied about taxes the first time and Virginians remember.

Remember, then candidate for governor Mark Warner in 2001 swore up and down on the campaign trail that he had no intention of raising taxes — and then forced the largest tax hike in Virginia history through the legislature. Fast forward to 2010 and Warner is out there swearing up and down that Democrats really do want to cut taxes. And the Senator is perplexed as to why people looked at him "askew."

What's the line about people believing their own lies ... ?

The State Of Affairs In The Age Of Obama (And Reid And Pelosi)

This hot-off-the-editing-computer ad from the Republican Governors Association says it all. From government takeovers, reduced freedoms, unfathomable debt, sky rocketing  unemployment, prohibitive taxes, incompetence, oil spills, arrogance and blame, and a general lack of standing in the world — and no end in sight (see BigGovernment.com) — it's all compressed here into two minutes and 40 seconds:

A stark video compilation of the disaster of the last two years under Obama-Reid-Pelosi: America in decline while Obama vacations and the liberals bale on tax relief.

Update: Winning Matters In The 37th Senate District Special Election

During the recent statewide campaign, we and our sister organization, TFF Action, ran an unprecedented — and massively successful — voter education campaign, Winning Matters. Although we anticipated a wind down after the election in November, Winning Matters remains in high gear for the crucial special election for the 37th district Virginia Senate seat (in Fairfax, January 12) vacated by Republican Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Winning Matters retained a staff of three (two field reps in Fairfax and a project manager) which has produced, and is distributing, thousands of paper and online voter guides in English, Spanish and Korean to churches, civic groups and area businesses. It also is providing absentee ballot applications for people not be able to vote in person on the 12th. Winning Matters also is working with churches to announce the election and/or put it in their bulletins as a reminder to their members to go out and vote.

If you are interested in helping Winning Matters with this crucial special election, between Republican Stephen Hunt and Democrat Dave Marsden, especially within your church, please contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at roger@familyfoundation.org

Although the campaign is a short one, it has been hot for a while, probably because it is so crucial to the makeup of the Virginia Senate, which the Democrats currently control by one seat. Among the issues: Marsden now claims to be for lower taxes, despite his history of votes to raise them; the fact that he moved into a friend's house to be eligible to run for the seat; and, of course, it wouldn't be a campaign in Virginia if life and abortion weren't part of the (misleading) discussion. If Hunt wins for the GOP, it will remain within striking distance of winning crucial votes, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling breaking ties. If Marsden pulls it out for the Dems, the left will have a little leeway with a second vote to spare. One seat might not sound like much, but whoever wins the election can change the dynamics of the entire Virginia Senate. Which is why winning matters.

Dave Marsden Now Is A Low Tax Guy?

It may be December, and it may be a one month campaign, but it's already a hot one in the 37th Senate District special election (to be held January 12) to fill the seat of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. It was guaranteed to be so from the beginning: The Dems think the seat belongs to them because of they way Fairfax County has trended recently. As the number one targeted Republican in 2007, they thought they had Cuccinelli dead in their sights, but he escaped with a victory of less than 100 votes. (Now, he's attorney general, surely to endless liberal heartburn, mental anguish, knashing of teeth and sleepless nights.) But a Democrat victory now would be a welcome buttress to its current one seat firewall against GOP policy initiatives.

However, the climate is much different now. The GOP did very well in Fairfax in November and has momentum and the weight of landslide victors Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and re-elected Lt. Governor Bill Bolling as well as Cuccinelli behind its nominee, Stephen Hunt. Hunt has been elected county wide before (to the Fairfax County School Board), while the best the Demscould come up with is Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax), who barely won re-election in November to his House seat, which partially overlaps the Senate district.

But it's not only a matter of a changed political atmosphere, but also Marsden's residency, at least for now. He doesn't live in the district, but a couple of weeks ago took up in a room in a friend's house that is in the district (see Washington Times).

But political climate and residency aren't the only things that have changed. Now, Delegate Marsden claims to be a low-tax guy. Talk about reading political tea leaves, or at least election results. In a recent direct mail piece, Delegate Marsden stakes out the low-tax mantle, claiming he will  "Hold the line on taxes," although he has consistently voted for numerous tax increases in the House of Delegates, including this $2 billion increase (click here) in 2008. It would have raised taxes on car and home purchases (just what we need in a recession) and encouraged a Northern Virginia sales tax increase.

When voters ask for change, residency and glossing over voting records isn't what they have in mind. Virginia Democrats won several elections in Virginia prior to November by basically saying, "We're not Republicans." Now, facing a statewide catastrophe, they have to say who they are, for once. According to the mailer released by Delegate Marsden, they still aren't.

That's One Big All-Purpose Table

This isn't so much a slam against Creigh Deeds for his vague, indecisive, obfuscating way of saying he'll raise our taxes in a recession, as it is the grammarian and rhetorician in me: Can we please cut out the cliches, people! However, since it is election season, when you combine this with his infamous tax and other dodges, and his braggadocio on submitting the most budget amendments in the General Assembly — a billion dollars worth — it all kind of comes together nicely. Oh, one other thing thing not purposely vague about the Deeds campaign was the news of a late $25,000 donation from the United Association, a Big Labor group that works to dismantle Right-To-Work laws.

Disparate questions about his plans, but the same answer from Senator Deeds:

If it's pro-Big Labor and means more taxes, spending and regulation, and less freedom, "it's on the table" for Creigh Deeds. 

Virginia News Stand: October 19, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Which Is It?

As election day nears, the media starts to pay closer attention to the House of Delegates campaigns. Accordingly, we have articles on four of them today. Sounds like Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), the House's top Democrat, is a bit rankled.

In a case study as to how people see the same object differently, the Washington Post claims Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) is bringing much more attention to the office (attorney general) that gets the least coverage every four years. On the other hand, The Daily Press offers the more traditional afterthought coverage. Which is it? The Post article is amazingly fair and perceptive. It does the senator right.

The Virginian-Pilot offers up a poll which shows Virginians decidedly againsta tax increase for transportation. Sorry, Creigh. Expect the aforementioned House (Democrat) candidates to sprint like Usain Bolt away from that proposition.

Speaking of the Post and The Daily Press, each endorsed a candidate this weekend. The Post predictably stuck with the guy it brung to the dance, Creigh Deeds, despite his attempts to avoid using the T word. Rumors are that he's buying up stickers to slap on yard signs in Northern Virginia that say, "Endorsed by Washington Post," just as he did in May shortly after it sponsored endorsed him in the Democrat primary. It was what gave him the edge then. The Daily Press, on the other hand, was not so predictable. It endorsed Tim Kaine four years ago, but now endorses Republican Bob McDonnell. It had no dog in the hunt it seems, and went with its best judgment.

Finally, the Post runs an opinion piece by a local teacher, Patrick Welsh, who offers common sense not often seen in those pages or in the D.C area: It's the parents, stupid, not the race.

News:

McDonnell, a poised presence, could lift the GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell moored by conservative values (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell and Deeds: The men who would be Va. Governor (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Attorney general hopefuls offer stark contrast (The Daily Press)

Cuccinelli's bid puts focus on a job often off the radar (Washington Post)

Deeds seeks to beat the odds (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Deeds fights to hold Obama's Va. Coalition (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hopefuls Summon Spirit of '08 Race (Washington Post)

Va. Lt. Gov. candidates spar over job records (The Daily Press)

Lohr, Hart Spar On Social Issues (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

94th House District: A civil disagreement between Oder and West (The Daily Press)

A rocky path for 11th District candidates (The Roanoke Times)

Armstrong questions 10th District opponent (The Roanoke Times)

Analysis:

Poll: Fix roads, but don't raise taxes (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Commentary:

Editorial Page Endorsement: Mr. Deeds for Governor (Washington Post)

Editorial Page Edorsement: Budget discipline and executive experience make Bob McDonnell the right choice in difficult times (The Daily Press)

Making the Grade Isn't About Race. It's About Parents. (Patrick Welsh/Washington Post)

Chairman Oberstar, Meet Chairman Kaine; Chairman Kaine, Meet Chairman Oberstar.

Governor Tim Kaine, who doubles as the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, got a dressing down from a senior Congressional Dem the other day. U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D - Minn.), a chairman himself — of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, one of the most important in Congress because of the mammoth amount of money it spends each year — sent Chairman Governor Kaine a harsh letter for Virginia's 51st place ranking among the states and D.C. in spending of "federal" money for transportation projects. You remember those projects, the ones that were "shovel ready" and supposedly would lift us out of the recession. You know, the same Governor Kaine (contact here) who is so concerned about Virginia's transportation problems that he's tried to raise our taxes ever year in office, including the first week of his tenure, even after campaigning that he would not raise taxes; the same governor who wanted to tax gas when it was $4.00 a gallon? The same governor Creigh Deeds says he'll model himself after?

Here's an excerpt from Rep. Oberstar's letter (read the entire volley here):

Based on the State progress reports submitted to the Committee in September 2009, Virginia has fallen far behind other States in putting to work its Recovery Act Highway formula funds. According to submissions received from all States and the District of Columbia, your State ranks last among all States (51 out of 51) based on an analysis of percentage of Recovery Act Highway formula funds put out to bid, under contract and underway.

As of August 31, Virginia had begun construction of projects totaling only 17 percent of the State's funding.

I strongly urge you to refocus your efforts to implement the Recovery Act and use the available funds to create and sustain family-wage jobs. These jobs are critical to Virginia's and the nation's long-term economic growth.

In August 2009, almost six months after enactment of the Recovery Act, I sent letters to the best and worst performers in putting to work Recovery Act highway funds. Since then, we have watched many states move aggressively. ... 

Regrettably, Virginia is not among these States.

Anita Kumar of the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog has the complete story in two parts: Her initial post (here) and a follow-up (here). We're sure Governor Kaine will have a private response to Rep. Oberstar, who should know this is no way to address the chairman, especially when it validates the governor's critics — the same critics he's tried to ostracize, demagogue and steamroll the last four years — and undercuts his gubernatorial nominee.

Inside The Rasmussen Poll

Here are some key findings of the Rasmussen Poll which shows Republican Bob McDonnell leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by 51-42 percent (see RasussenReports.com for full summary). See how, if at all, it reflects how the Mainstream Media has portrayed the campaign thus far:

» Fifty-one percent of voters now say the thesis is at least somewhat important in affecting for whom they will vote, a negligible change from the last poll.  

» Deeds' tax increase position is more poison to him than the thesis is to McDonnell. By 51-36 percent Virginia voters trust the GOP candidate more on the tax issue, which the GOP is using to hang around Deeds in conjunction with other unpopular Democrat state and national policies.

» By 45-32 percent, voters now trust McDonnell more than Deeds on Virginia's most pressing economic issue, transportation. Previously, voters were split on the two candidates. 

» Fifty-three percent of Virginians view McDonnell favorably; 46 percent view Deeds. That's one point down for McDonnell over the last poll, four down for Deeds. (Going negative brings down the instigator more than the target, sometimes, and that appears to be the case here.) 

» Among those with strong opinions, twenty-nine percent have a very favorable opinion of McDonnell; thirteen percent very unfavorable. For Deeds, it's 20 percent very favorable and 23 percent very unfavorable.

Virginia News Stand: September 29, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Return Of The Editorial Comic/Twisted Tax Logic

When a friend sent me a comic today today, I thought it would make a good addition to the blog. Then I remembered that I used to provide a link to one or more editorial comics each week. So, enjoy. You don't even have to click a link to get to it.

The big news in the campaign today is Democrat Creigh Deeds' continuing saga of twisted tax logic. He put up a television ad, then pulled it because he realized it didn't make much sense for Mark Warner to talk about Deeds lowering taxes yet continuing his (Warner's) policies (which raised them considerably). Yes, not too clear (see here).

Nationally, the Supreme Court will hear a case about Crosses in the Mojave desert. In Commentary, we have the excellent Thomas Sowell writing on the Obama administration's reputed brilliance, Bobby Eberle about the same's indoctrination of our children, and Bart Hinkle about property rights (or, the government trying to take them away). But, in what may be the most entertaining piece today, aside from the comic, is an article from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot about socialists — who say they are misunderstood. Let them talk to the Obama administration.

News:

GOP candidates tout controlled spending, budget reform (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Jindal boosts McDonnell; Linwood Holton backs Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Howell decries Deeds' tax plan for roads (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Deeds New Ad Makes Mark Warner a Liar, Quickly Takes it Down (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds gambles on riding Obama's coattails (Washington Times)

Campaign issue No. 1 (Virginia Business Magazine)

House candidates face off during evening forums (The Daily Press)

Socialists say their true beliefs are being misconstrued (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

The Old Secular Cross? (Washington Post)

Public plan debate could pit Democrat vs. Democrat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Roanoke: Eminent-Domain Case Looks Like Kelo Redux (Bart Hinkle/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Brainy Bunch (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

O.K. kids . . . Today's lesson: Sing Praises to Obama (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Editorial Cartoon:

lying pols

Huh? Even Liberal Media Can't Make Sense Of Deeds Answer; Or, Making John Kerry Proud

I post this without comment because I'm still baffled. First one who makes sense of this ramble wins a prize. But I doubt anyone will — when a liberal confuses even his media allies, it must be incomprehensible. Terribly incomprehensible — and all in three minutes!

Even reporters were confused in this post debate interview in Fairfax today with Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds: I will raise NEW money but won't raise taxes but ALL options are on the table, but I WON'T take money from the general fund , but I WILL sign a tax increase . . . .

After watching this a second, third and fourth time, I have to wonder if even John ("I voted for it before I voted against it") Kerry would understand this. It certainly is the most confusing political answer I've ever heard before or since the infamous Kerry remark.

Virginia News Stand: September 16, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  An All-Star Cast

The last shall be first, right? So, today, I bring up our Commentary section first, because we have an all-star cast, with terrific insight on major issues and events in the news right now that may very well affect everything about the future of the country. The terrific Michelle Malkin looks into the ACORN abomination, where employees at offices all around the country have advocated the breaking several major laws while recorded on tape. The always on target Brent Bozell looks at the two-million person march last weekend, the largest tea party in world history. The insightful and patriotic Bobby Eberle commemorates 9/11,  while the great, and I do mean great, Walter E. Williams, says it all in one word: education. Each one is worth the read as well as RedState.com's analysis on how a pro-life Democrat will kill socialized medicine if it does not explicitly prohibit abortion coverage. 

In the gubernatorial campaign, it looks like — again, of people — the Washington Post is covering issues again. Finally. A makeup call? All else is the horse race: money and polls.  

News:

Deeds on the Defensive Over Collective Bargaining Positions (Washington Post)

Deeds, McDonnell woo lawyers and argue about taxes (The Daily Press)

New McDonnell ad accuses Deeds of misleading attack (Roanoke Times)

At Harbor Park, candidates for governor take a few whacks (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Poll: Gap between McDonnell, Deeds narrows (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell leads Deeds in cash on hand (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds raises more in period, but McDonnell has more cash (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Deeds outraises McDonnell (Washington Times)

Record Haul for Deeds, but McDonnell Has More in Bank (Washington Post)

November Candidates Meet And Greet At The Shenandoah County Fair (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Bell enjoys sizable lead in donations (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

National News:

Dems query Obama's view on health care for aliens (AP/GOPUSA.com)

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Health interests fund senators (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis:

Abortion is Lethal — Not Only to Babies, but also to ObamaCare  (RedState.com)

Commentary:

ACORN Watch: A 'Sting'-ing Indictment of Media Hypocricy (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Our 'Intolerance Festival' (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Education (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)

Remembering 9/11 (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

VEA/NEA Endorse Policy Contrary To Virginia Law At The Expense Of Education

Yesterday,we reported on the VEA's proud go-along at the NEA national convention endorsing same-sex marriage (see here). Instead of concetrating on issues that matter to teachers and improving education, the VEA has endorsed advocating a radical left-wing policy in contradiction of the Virginia Constitution and statutory law. The president of the VEA, Dr. Kitty J. Boitnott, responded to our post with a long comment on the thread stating that our take on the VEA/NEA position wasn't exactly what the convention meant with its lock-step adoption of the radical homosexual agenda. She goes on about "social justice." What any of this has to do with teaching clearly is beyond most parents' concerns for their children's education. 

Not only is the  homosexual marriage resolution contrary to the views of a majority of Virginians, she did not answer our concern about whether the VEA, with this policy position, now will encourage its member teachers to ignore the new traditional marriage guidelines to the Family Life Education curriculum. A true conflict of interest now is on the record.

Adopting a radical agenda contrary to Virginia law. Wasting time on matters completely non-germane to education. A significant conflict of interest.

We report. You decide. Below is the resolution:

NEA Representative Assembly New Business Items (NBIs) NEW BUSINESS ITEM E ADOPTED

"Resolutions B-13 (Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination) and I-13 (Civil Rights) set forth NEA's opposition to the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples and its belief that such couples should have the same legal rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples. The Legislative Program is in accord: NEA supports "obtaining, preserving, and strengthening basic civil and human rights under law," and specifically calls for "passage of a federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression." Section IV(b). In implementation of the foregoing policies, the Representative Assembly adopts the following action plan with regard to same-sex couples:

1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.

2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.

3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.

4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.

5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.

The Executive Committee will monitor the implementation of this New Business Item, and keep NEA affiliates informed of actions taken to achieve its objectives."

Attention Americans United For Separation!

In a case of the left hand ignoring not knowing what the, umm, left hand is doing, we want to make sure that the folks at Americans United For Separation of Church and State, and our friends at People for the American Way, are made aware of a horrible violation of the separation of church and state that may cause the very foundations of our society to collapse. (These "watchdogs" monitor our blog and post on their Web sites some of our material as a warning to "separatists" since we are threatening to the very existence of Amerika as a civilization.) According to yesterday's Washington Post, all Democrat candidates for governor made appearances in, gulp, churches this Sunday! What is worse, if you can imagine, one of the pastors apparently endorsed a candidate right in the pulpit!:

Moran visited Fifth Street Baptist Church in the Highland Park neighborhood on the north side of Richmond, where Deeds appeared two months ago. He came at the invitation of Evelyn Morris-Harris, leader of the Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia, and the Rev. Todd F. Gray, the church's pastor.

Gray encouraged the parishioners to vote tomorrow and told them that he will be casting a ballot for Moran.

"Brian is right on guns. He's right on affirmative action. He's right on taxes. He's right on jobs," Gray said. "I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm just telling you who I'm voting for. I'm voting for Brian Moran."

Of course, the Post reported these clear violations of all it is to be an Amerikan without so much as a whisper of impropriety. I'm sure, however, the our friends at Americans United and PFAW will be issuing press releases and sending notes to the Department of Homeland Security demanding immediate investigations.

Oh, and don't forget the IRS . . . they must be tired of only investigating churches where Republicans visit.

Hope

Thousands, yes thousands, of citizens turned out this evening for the Richmond Tea Party!  Reports from across the state indicate large crowds at various events, but I don't think anyone expected what is happening in downtown Richmond.   Speaking with people there estimates ranged from four to seven thousand people - not exaggerations at all.   Everyone was amazed. Traffic in downtown was jammed for much of the late afternoon as people poured in.  The weather is awful, but there are still people arriving...

These pictures don't really do justice to the actual turn out, but it gives you some sense of the crowd.

tea-party-4

 

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The bet is that the media will downplay the size of the crowd and the enthusiasm.  Let them.  This is the kind of movement that will be dismissed by the far left...until after election day when they are left trying to explain the train that just hit them.

Virginians' Tax Burden: No Glory In This Top 25

Feeling a little pinched lately? Feeling beat up by successive governors and legislators who think you've got room to pay more? There's good reason. You are pinched — and so much for liberal "compassion" for working families. According The Tax Foundation, which recently released its annual study of states' tax burdens, Virginia is slipping into the high tax zone. So much for the certain legislators and governors who are fond of saying "Virginia is a low tax state and can absorb an increase in the gas, sales, grantor's or your-favorite-tax here."

Since 2004, we've been in a slight zig-zag, but mostly we've been heading down into the low numbers. Whereas we had the 35th highest tax burden per capita in 1993, we've accelerated faster Michael Phelps down the homestretch. We dropped to 21 in 2007 and now are at 18 — that's the 18th highest tax burden in the country — and the first time since The Tax Foundation has kept score (in 1977) that Virginia has been in the teens. It stayed in the high 20s and low 30s until 1999. The tax burden is a the percentage of taxes against income. In 1993, in hard numbers, the tax burden was $1,566 per person. Today it is $3,281.

Virginians take pride when their alma maters crack the Top 25 polls. Although the politicians will give us "percentage-this and percentage-that" jargon because income levels have gone up during the same time (true), by what reason does that mean they should be tax it away? How is it that other states are passing us by so quickly? This is one Top 25 of which we should all be wary.

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.