transportation

Quote Of The Day: Norment Nails It (About Himself)

Seconds ago, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) on the floor, during debate on the tax-increase-and-spend-transportation bill:

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a simple man. I'm a simpleton.

A little while later, he and 24 other senators joined 60 members of the House ,who voted yesterday, to increase our taxes by a 25-15 vote.

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!

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.

A Positive Proposal On Transportation

Much of the discussion and attention of this year's legislative session thus far has been surrounding how to fund transportation. Governor Bob McDonnell initiated the discussion with a bold plan to be the first state in the nation to eliminate the archaic gas tax and replace that revenue with numerous other tax and fee changes. Yesterday, Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest) introduced a plan that would replace the gas tax with a sales tax of 5.5 percent on gas, but keep the state sales tax at 5 percent. This proposal is a very positive development in the debate surrounding how to fund transportation.

To this point, we have been monitoring the various proposals and debates in committee, knowing that the initial offers from Governor McDonnell and others would not be the final package. Unfortunately, liberals in Richmond have their own plans — and they include massive tax hikes in the billions of dollars that would cripple our economy and rip money from our families, already paying at least $3.60 a gallon for gas in some parts of the state, during some of the most challenging economic times we've ever faced.

Senator Newman's plan offers legislators an opportunity to address the needs of transportation — and there are needs — without increasing the tax burden on Virginia families. There is no doubt that the General Assembly has an opportunity this year to address an issue that has been challenging our elected officials for years. Senator Newman's plan is the best proposal we've seen at this point.

The House and Senate will vote on various plans, have more committee meetings, amendments, floor surprises and, ultimately, conference committee process that will change its content faster than the twists in an Albermarle County back road. So no one knows exactly what the outcome will be until the final days of session. We do know that we will oppose any plan that taxes Virginia families' hard earned income and that Senator Newman's plan has provided a new, improved platform from which to continue the discussion.

Spending Reform And Transparency Bills In Senate Sub-Committee Tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning, a Senate Rules sub-committee will vote on two important reforms that will bring greater transparency — and thus, less government — to the Commonwealth's budget and spending practices. Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt) is the patron of SB 867, a "read the bill" bill. It requires a 72-hour period from the time the budget is submitted to the House and Senate by the House-Senate Conference Committee. During that time legislators could actually read the budget bill and comprehend its contents — the two-year budget contains $70 billion worth of spending. Currently, they get only a few hours on the last day of session and are expected to digest the entire document (as thick as a phone book) and vote up or down under a great deal of time-related pressure: Either vote for a massive budget bill or shut down the government. This bill will bring long-needed inspection and transparency to the budget process, not only for legislators but also for the public. The more eyes on the bill, the more wasteful spending can be caught. 

The second bill is SB 1353, patroned by Senator Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg). It would prohibit the House and Senate Budget conference committee from including in its budget any funding for non-state agencies, funding for projects that were not introduced as legislation during session, and items that were not included in either chamber’s version of the budget — unless the chairmen of the money committees enumerate those types of spending items in a letter to all 140 members of the legislature and post it on the committees' Web sites. Most of the final budget is a mystery and lawmakers only have a few hours to digest all $70 billion in the document. It also would shine the spotlight on legislators who insert in the budget what they were afraid to ask their colleagues to vote on separately as all other bills must be. Right now, the few members of the House-Senate Conference Committee have a privilege no one else has — they can insert spending that has not been vetted through the regular legislative process — no sub-committee, no committee, no floor votes in either chamber. They get buried in the budget and get passed into law as part of a mammoth spending bill that funds our police, schools and transportation.

Virginia's budget process leaves much to be desired and is no way to run the country's best managed state. Contact the senators on the sub-committee and ask them to vote to report SB 867 and SB 1353 to the full committee!

Funded By The "New Stimulus"?

The other day President Obama announced a new, $50 billion "stimulus" bill for transportation and infrastructure, which begs the question: What happened to all those "shovel ready projects" the first, $800 billion stimulus was supposed to fund? Now we're up to "Stimulus 3." Or is it number four? But enough is enough for even the president's rank and file extreme left-wing allies.  Democrats such as Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado — who owes his primary victory to the president and who is behind Republican Ken Buck — have put miles between themselves and Mr. Obama's new spending plan in just the one day since its roll out (see Paul Kane in the Washington Post's Politics and Policy blog). That's some real hard and fast running.

Although we can't verify it, this may be the reason for the opposition: It's not exactly "shovel ready," but rumor has it this is one of the bridge building projects the money would be earmarked for (thanks to friend WizeMaxie):

The latest bridge building project under "Stimulus 3"? Or is it number 4?

Congrats To Delegate Hugo: New House GOP Caucus Chair

Agreeing and rejecting to Governor Bob McDonnell's amendments Wednesday wasn't the only business going on in Mr. Jefferson's Capitol. When the governor selected former Delegate Sam Nixon to head up VITA, not only did it create a vacancy for his seat, it created a vacancy in the House GOP leadership since he was the House GOP Caucus chairman. In his place, the caucus elected Delegate Tim Hugo (R-40, Fairfax) (see VA GOP Caucus Blog). From Delegate Hugo's news release:

"As a recognized leader within the Caucus, Tim understands the duties required of this position and has the right temperament and experiences to be very successful in his important new capacity," stated Speaker William J. Howell. "During these tough economic times and need to reform state government to make it smarter and simpler, it is imperative that we have an energetic, dedicated and knowledgeable member like Tim joining our leadership team. Like so many, I am looking forward to working with him and our Majority Caucus will be better off because of his leadership."

He will have large shoes to fill, but he has something in common with former Delegate Nixon, which, if it is any indicator of future success, bodes well for conservatives: then-Delegate Nixon, before becoming GOP Caucus chair, was the Virginia Conservative Caucus chairman. Delegate Hugo, first elected to the House of Delegates in a special election in December 2002, has been an active member of the "concaucus" where we have forged an excellent relationship with him. He also is a member of the Commerce and Labor, Finance, Transportation, and Privileges and Elections Committees. He is vice-chair of the Finance Committee and chairs sub-committees in Finance and Commerce and Labor. He represents parts of Fairfax, Centreville, Clifton, and Fairfax Station. We congratulate him, wish him well and look forward to working with him in his new capacity.

Application Deadline For Virginia Boards And Commissions Extended

Over the last couple of weeks we've sounded the call about the opportunity to serve on the hundreds of boards and commissions that set policy for the Commonwealth. The McDonnell administration is looking to fill hundreds of positions subject to gubernatorial appointment for everything from college boards of visitors to commissions that deal on crime, sanctity of life, women's issues, education and government reform, housing, medicine, transportation and just about any aspect of policy and government that affect life in Virginia (see list here). The deadline to apply for (or nominate someone) to a board or commission originally was yesterday. However, in a letter from Director of Appointments Jennifer Aulgur yesterday afternoon, the administration announced that it is extending the application deadline one more week:  

A few weeks ago, we notified you of the new online system for applying to serve in the McDonnell administration on a board or commission.

Thank you for your cooperation, patience and positive comments as we launched this new site and process.

Today was the original deadline to apply for boards or commissions with openings between now and June 30. However, to allow time to ensure that the everyone's application is complete in the new system and to provide grace to any folks who waited until the deadline to apply, we have extended the deadline to Thursday, April 22nd.

If you have questions about OASYS, the board and commission application process or if you need technical assistance in filling out your application or nomination please contact the Appointments staff, and we will gladly assist you. Additionally, anyone who does not have access to a computer or the Internet or who needs assistance filling out the online application because of a disability can contact us as well.

We renew our encouragement for pro-family Virginians from across the Commonwealth, who have an interest in moving Virginia in a positive, pro-traditional values, conservative, limited government direction, to get involved and apply to serve the Commonwealth and influence its public policy in a way that reflects our values and improves lives of all Virginians. For more information, click hereor e-mail Ms. Aulgur at Jennifer.Aulgur@governor.virginia.gov or her deputy, Courtney Groves, at Courtney.Groves@governor.virginia.gov. You may also call their office at 804-786-2441.

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)

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.

Two For Traffic Congestion Two: Hampton Roads Chamber Of Commerce Endorses McDonnell

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce officially endorsed Bob McDonnell today giving the Republican candidate for governor the endorsements of the business communities of the two most traffic congested regions of Virginia. Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has it here. Along with former Governor Doug Wilder's tax increases are "not leadership," non-endorsement of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, it looks as if it's advantage McDonnell in the transportation debate. Despite the stereo-type that chambers of commerce are some type of conservative monolith, as Bill Pascoe points out on CQPolitics' In The Right Blog, the Fairfax Chamber, for example, has been very friendly to Mark Warner over the years. In fact, the whole myth of "business being conservative" needs to be exploded. Business is for business, whether it gets its way via free markets or government assistance. (Who was among the most fervent property rights reform opponents? Who typically is for taxes increases for roads for their commercial developments?)

In this case, in this economic condition, they understand — confiscating wealth is no way to create it. Without people keeping their hard-earned money, there's no transportation. So, the people who know their region's problems best seem to favor McDonnell's no-tax approach to transportation problem solving.

High Ranking Democrat Senator Edd Houck Says No Tax Increase Needed!

In what must be one of the most devastating one-two combinations this side of Mike Tyson in his prime, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds was on the receiving end of former Governor (and Democrat) Doug Wilder's non-endorsement yesterday (in large part because because of Deeds' insistence on new taxes). Now, Democrat Senator Edd Houck — one of the most senior members of the Senate, the second ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and one of only five Senate budget conferees — has released a statement in which he writes that a tax increase is not needed. It's pretty bad when two prominent members of your own party sabotage the rationale for your entire campaign — to raise taxes for transportation and who knows what else. 

Senator Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) wrote:

Fortunately, Governor Kaine’s proposals contain no tax increases. With salaries remaining stagnant, or worse, individuals losing their jobs, a tax increase is unneeded

Not that this is insurmountable for Senator Deeds. Anything is possible. But with friends like this, and two miserable days of news, we're sure he's glad it's the weekend.

Why You Need To Read This Blog: Wilder Impact, We Had It First

Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we're not bad. Pretty good, in fact. Yesterday, in our almost daily Virginia News Stand we commented that the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Fraternal Order of Police endorsements, as well as former Governor Doug Wilder's non-endorsement of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, had put momentum back on the side of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell Guess who confirms it today? The august editorial page writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, whose lead editorial, "Election 2009: Wilder Rules," sees it as we do. 

As the T-D put it:

The only thing better for Republican Bob McDonnell would have been a formal endorsement. There is no way Democrat Creigh Deeds can put a happy face on this. ... his statement implicitly underscored the Republican's electoral strengths and the Democrat's electoral weaknesses. Wilder's criticism of Deeds' willingness — eagerness? — to hike taxes for transportation echoed one of McDonnell's themes. Wilder cited the regressive nature of most of the proposed revenue enhancements — such as higher gasoline taxes or higher sales taxes generally.

In 2006, it was perceived that Mr. Wilder was flirting with endorsing George Allen in his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate. When he endorsed Jim Webb, many thought it wasn't that he preferred Webb over Allen, but interpreted the political tea leaves correctly and wanted to be relevent to the election and his endorsement important. That's our Doug. So could this non-endorsement mean that this historic figure, who has some of the best political radar in the country, thinks Deeds is going down to defeat?

Let's put it another way. The former governor and first strong mayor of Richmond in 60 years is saying this: Creigh, you have no plan. What you do have is a raise-taxes-for-every-problem-approach. Attacking your opponent is not telling us what you would do. He even went so far as to say Deeds is offering no leadership! As anyone who knows Doug Wilder knows, he wants to know what you will do and knows those who don't say are normally doomed to defeat.

Virginia News Stand: September 24, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  As The Day Turned: Chamber, FOP, Wilder

This morning started out with major news for Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell, with the very non-partisan Fairfax Chamber of Commerce endorsing him. (Where's the Washington Post article?) This same chamber endorsed Mark Warner in 2001. So, no GOP echo chamber here. As its number one issue is transportation, it clearly is sending a message as to whose plan is better for Northern Virginia.

As the day went on, it only got better for him. First, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McDonnell and his running mates, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for re-election and Senator Ken Cuccinelli for attorney general. McDonnell's opponent, Democrat Senator Creigh Deeds, who shrugged of the NRA's endorsement of McDonnell a few weeks ago, even though the NRA endorsed Deeds in his AG run in 2005, said what really mattered this year was the FOP's endorsement. Okay, we now have it, senator. What say you, now?

But perhaps the dirt on Deeds day was that former Governor Doug Wilder later in the afternoon issued a statement in which he refused to endorse him. He also did not endorse him in 2005. Although it was never likely he would endorse McDonnell, even this non-endorsement must be seen as a major surprise. As I wrote yesterday, Mr. Wilder said that this election is a referendum on Barack Obama, for whom he enthusiastically campaigned last year. Why would he contribute something, by his own admission, would make his party's president look bad? Especially after the administration talked to him extensively about it? As we say in Richmond about our former mayor, "That's Doug." That's how he turns, and as the morning turned to the afternoon today, the momentum may have turned firmly back to McDonnell.

News:

Fairfax chamber endorses McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Fairfax chamber backs McDonnell for governor (Roanoke Times)

McDonnell aims to tap support of veterans (Washington Times)

Warner urges action on health care (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

William Smith hopes past won't haunt in House of Delegates race (Roanoke Times)

Some Va. rest areas getting electric-car chargers (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job (FoxNews.com)

Analysis:

Fairfax Chamber Chooses McDonnell over Deeds, on Transportation (Bill Pascoe/CQPolitics In The Right Blog)

Young Women, Meet Young Bob McDonnell (Rosalind S. Helderman and Jennifer Agiesta/Washington Post)

Commentary:

Virginia, Meet Your Mondale (Bill Pascoe/CQPolitics In The Right Blog)

Did Forbes Magazine, CNBC Do Their Homework In Naming Virginia Best State For Business?

We're as thrilled as the next guy that Virginia continues to rack up victories in prestigious national rankings for business and management. The PR can't hurt, especially in these times. Governor Tim Kaine certainly couldn't contain his enthusiasm this morning on his monthly call-in show on Richmond radio station WRVA when he announced Forbes again named Virginia the best state in the nation in for business. (Never mind the fact that, by Forbes' own admission, Georgia, which moved from 15th to fifth, is the real story this year). This adds to the Old Dominion's CNBC Number 1 ranking, announced last month.   Virginia has won so many "Best State For Business" and "Best Managed State" awards over the last 10 years (all without major league sports franchises and new stadiums, by the way) that one has to wonder how much of it is earned and how much is based on reputation. It makes one question whether CNBC and Forbes have even heard of VITA and Northrop Grumman (see Daily Press). How can either one claim the current administration has managed the state well with a massive agency/private sector partnership in meltdown (see Charlottesville Daily Progress)? What about the constantly missed budget revenue forecasts despite repeated warnings from outside sources and the General Assembly? Not to mention four years without a transportation plan. We don't hear the governor championing those aspects of his government.

Post's McCartney Calls Out Deeds, Says He Stumbled In Debate

You know things aren't going well for a liberal candidate when his Mainstream Media allies call him out. How let down must Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds have felt when he saw this headline from Washington Post lib Robert McCartney?

Plain and Simple, Deeds Stumbles In N.Va. Debate

Ouch!

But true. See for yourself. We can't add much more to what Mr. McCartney wrote. So, we let him speak for himself, with emphasis added to certain points and occasional parenthetical comments of mine because . . . because . . . I still don't know the difference between tax increases and "raise new money"!

. . .  as governor Deeds would be more likely to actually fix the roads than his Republican opponent, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell. That's because Deeds is willing to raise taxes for transportation, while McDonnell isn't, and some kind of tax increase is the only way to do the job. (Oh, really? The mind of a liberal, and they say conservatives see things only in black and white.)

But Deeds certainly didn't explain that clearly Thursday. When asked directly by moderator David Gregory of NBC News whether he would raise taxes if necessary in the current economic climate, Deeds said: "No, I'm not going to raise taxes. But I am the only person on this dais who will sign a transportation plan that raises new money." (Say, what!?!?!?)

Huh? When I and other reporters pressed him afterward to clarify, he said he meant only that he wouldn't raise taxes for the state's general fund, which pays for a broad range of services, including education and law enforcement. That clearly left open the possibility that he'd raise taxes for the transportation fund, which is separate.

Even then, though, Deeds tried to have it both ways. In one breath he told reporters, "I have no plans to raise taxes." In another he said, "I intend to sign" a bill that "raises new money for transportation." That sounds like a plan to me.

Deeds also got a bit testy with a reporter who pressed him about whether he'd be ready to increase the gasoline tax. He's supported that before — to his great credit, in my view — but he wouldn't say so Thursday.

"I think I made myself clear, young lady. I don't know," Deeds said. ("I don't know" is clear?) The McDonnell campaign immediately began showing the clip to the press corps. Their message: You don't like what our guy wrote in 1989 about working women? (But see what Deeds has said, done and voted for in his 40s and 50s.)

Marriage Penalty: If You Thought Creigh Was Confusing On Taxes, Listen To Him On Marriage!

Based on the massive amount of hits we've received on Creigh Deeds' ramble about raising "new" funds for transportation, but not raising taxes, but not ruling out any new funding source (it still makes me dizzy) . . . we thought you'd be interested in how he answered a question about his flip-flop on the Marriage Amendment (see original commentary here). You see, taxes aren't the only issue Creigh is confused on: He voted for the Marriage Amendment twice in the General Assembly, but now says he's against it, but he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but it shouldn't be . . . oh good grief! Listen for yourself:

Taxes aren't the first or only time, nor will it be the last time Creigh Deeds zig-zags through an answer to a question on his record or what he plans to do if elected. Here, he has an incredible explanation of his Marriage Amendment flip flop.

BREAKING: Exclusive Inteview Here With Majority Leader Morgan Griffith Monday!

It's been a long time coming, but we finally secured our interview with House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem). We will post it here Monday. We hope you visit us then for what will be an informative and insightful set of seven questions and answers, on issues ranging from transportation, transparency, SOQ reform and even about a famous moment of controversy on the House floor.

Ugly Numbers For GOP, But Good For Conservative Bloggers?

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot's Pilot on Politics blog recently reported on a Commonwealth Poll (see here) conducted in late December which showed Virginians by large margins preferring Democrats over Republicans on a range of issues, such as transportation, education and the budget. The latter is a bit surprising since it is the Kaine Administration whose utter incoherent forecast of tax revenue brought us to the mammoth deficit we face today. Aside from that, however, the survey found that:

Republicans are more apt to keenly observe the General Assembly session than Democrats or independents.

We don't know how that makes the House leadership feel, but for those of us conservative state policy and politics bloggers, it's nice to know that

A. There's a large audience out there from which to draw; 

B. Perhaps we and the other conservative bloggers are the reason our universe of interested voters is larger; and

C. Conservatives are more thoughtful and interested in issues, contrary to the stereotypes perpetuated by liberals and their media allies.

As for C, here's exhibit A:

 

 

Still #1

This afternoon Governor Tim Kaine proudly touted in a press release Forbes Magazine's ranking of Virginia for the third straight year as the "Best State for Business." Interestingly, the Commonwealth maintained this rather impressive position despite:

1) What we have been told is a crumbling infrastructure and transportation system that is in desperate need of massive tax hikes and

2) Our marriage amendment.

Huh? Explain, you ask.

Well, I hate to bring up the lovely memories of 2006, but that fall Governor Kaine and opponents to the marriage amendment claimed that if Virginians voted in favor of protecting the definition of marriage it would surely make Virginia less attractive to business (among the other ridiculous claims of "unintended consequences"), bringing about sure economic ruin. 

Such talk was nonsense, and we told everyone that. Of course, 57 percent of voters listened and the rest his history. But, every once in a while it's nice to be able to say well, we told you so. 

Oh, and what of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions and their Forbes rankings? New Jersey is 34th; Massachusetts and Vermont, tied for 36th; and California is 40th.