Don't Look NowMay 16, 2016
It's PR 101. If you have bad news, announce it when everyone is distracted by some other big news story.
So late Friday, perhaps hoping no one would notice amidst the uproar over the President's edict on public school bathrooms and showers, Governor Terry McAuliffe took advantage of the distraction to release April's financials for the Commonwealth. It seems the General Assembly was wise to pass a somewhat reigned in version of the first-ever $100+ billion budget initially proposed by Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The Governor's office announced that April revenue collections fell 6.7 percent from last year. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, total revenue collections rose 1.3 percent, behind the annual forecast of 3.2 percent growth. While having an optimistic outlook is generally a good thing, overly-inflated tax and spending proposals which leave Virginia taxpayers picking up the tab are potentially reckless.
Of course, the administration could always find more ways to save the state money. Here's a few ideas worth passing along: Enacting policies that encourage educational choices (like education savings accounts, education tax credits, and virtual education programs) and fully defunding Planned Parenthood and all taxpayer funding of abortions. For a Governor who spends so much of his time talking about the economy, he spends a lot of his time defeating common-sense cost-saving measures like these.
Economic Reality Check
Economic Reality Check
Imagine for a moment you lived in a state:
- That has created over 300,000 new jobs since 2013, including over 30,000 net new jobs since April 2016
- That has seen unemployment decline from 10% to 4.9% (under the national average);
- That has a $425 million budget surplus (not a deficit of over $1 billion);
- That has improved its ranking in CNBC's best states for business in 2016, jumping from #9 up to #5;
- Was named by Forbes Magazine the second best state for business in America for the second year in a row in 2016;
Sounds pretty good, no?
Then you better move to North Carolina.
That’s right, the state the hysterical left – including our own Governor – is painting as being on economic life support is actually doing just fine. In fact, it's doing better than the Commonwealth in several key economic areas – including job growth – as it’s rankings in key surveys from CNBC and Forbes indicate. North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped seven-tenths of a percent over the year, the fourth-best improvement in the nation, while Virginia's has recently inched up. Forbes ranks Virginia the sixth best state for business, a decline from past years and behind NC.
And all this is happening despite the fact that – hold on – North Carolina would prefer men use men’s restrooms and women use women’s restrooms.
Even if you buy the argument that North Carolina’s effort to protect the safety, dignity and privacy of women and children has had a negative effect on its economy, the state is still doing better than Virginia in many ways!
The hysteria from the media, political class and pseudo-conservative bloggers over legislation before the Virginia General Assembly regulating bathroom use in government buildings (i.e. public schools) was as swift as it was predictable. The belief in an underlying reality that biology and DNA matter and that common sense dictate that no one should expect young school girls to be exposed to members of the opposite sex in school showers and locker rooms are now labeled bigotry, hateful and worse than all – bad for the economy.
Of course, this is politics in Virginia, so the narrative being forced on us by a mainstream media no one is supposed to believe any more will likely win out over objective reality. But reality is something different, regardless of what the media and political class are telling you.
Surrounded by melting snow and warming temperatures, lawmakers returned to Richmond yesterday for the start of the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session.
To kick off the session, we hosted our Family Advocacy Day and 5th Annual Prayer Walk. Dozens of citizen activists roamed the hallways of the General Assembly, met with their legislators and joined in prayer groups around the Capitol to pray for our elected officials and the new session. We were also honored to host several dozen pastors and ministry leaders with our Virginia Pastor Network Luncheon, with special guest speaker former Governor Bob McDonnell.
The next 45 days will set the stage for the 2017 statewide elections. In November, Virginians will vote for a Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, as well as all 100 members of the House of Delegates. Consequently, expect a lot of posturing, partisanship and media-driven hysterical narratives about what’s happening in Richmond, which started last night with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s State of the Commonwealth address, in which he warned against legislation that would protect the safety, privacy and dignity of women and children in Virginia.
And, just yesterday I saw an email from the Democrat Party of Virginia hysterically attacking a bill that would prohibit abortion after the mid-point of pregnancy – when science indicates an unborn child can feel pain – calling it a “restrictive, abominable abortion ban bill.” Incredibly, the US is one of only seven countries around the world that still allows elective abortions after the mid-point of pregnancy! That is abominable! And it's high time Virginia join the 18 other states that have passed similar protections for the unborn.
Regardless of the narratives, The Family Foundation comes into this year’s session with a common-sense, broad-based agenda that advances our principles.
A top priority will be the reinforcement of religious liberty protections that would prohibit state government from penalizing entities such as faith-based charities and colleges for their moral or religious beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality. This legislation passed the General Assembly last session, only to be vetoed by Governor McAuliffe. Just last week Governor McAuliffe issued an Executive Order that constitutes one of the most anti-religious freedom policies in the nation by restricting the charities and businesses with which the state does business to only those that have a viewpoint of marriage and sexuality that is in line with the Governor’s personal beliefs. State Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax) and Delegate Nick Freitas (R-30, Culpeper) are carrying crucial religious liberty legislation.
The Family Foundation will once again support efforts that protect Virginia taxpayers from being forced to subsidize Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, particularly in light of a recent Congressional investigation that confirmed that organization’s involvement in a fetal-body-part-selling-for-profit-scandal. There are well over one hundred community based health centers in Virginia, many in areas that do not have Planned Parenthood abortion centers, that offer real health care for women. Those health centers should be prioritized for taxpayer dollars before a dime goes to Planned Parenthood. Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst) is once again patroning this important bill.
We are also supporting legislation this year that will protect the free speech rights of students on college campuses. The reports around the nation of conservative speakers being denied opportunity to speak, speech codes and “safe spaces” on college campuses indicate a campus culture run amok, and the victims of this discrimination are usually conservative Christians.
As always, we will also fight against bills that threaten religious freedom and seek to roll back important pro-life, pro-family gains from recent years. Already, secular liberals in the General Assembly have introduced numerous bills that elevate sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to special status in the law. Couched as bills that will “help our economy” and “stop discrimination,” the truth is that these laws are used to discriminate! In every case you’ve heard about where a business owner has faced fines or jail for not wanting to participate in a same-sex wedding, the attacks are based on these “SOGI” laws.
I hope you will commit to taking action when we call on you over the next few weeks. Legislators need to hear from you! When you get an “Action Alert” from us, please take just a moment to influence your Delegate or Senator. We know that we send many Action Alerts during session, but the pace in Richmond is fast and furious and your activity is critical!
I also ask once again this year that you pray for our elected officials, their staffs, and our team here at The Family Foundation during the next 45 days. Session is a physically, emotionally and spiritually draining time, and we need God’s wisdom, discernment and protection each and every day.
Tar Heels Still Beating Virginia
Tar Heels Still Beating Virginia
Governor Terry McAuliffe with assistance from his media allies has spent the better part of his administration carrying the message that Virginia must be a “welcoming” state to successfully attract businesses, and therefore jobs, to the Old Dominion. By “welcoming,” of course, he means disregarding religious liberty, personal privacy and safety, abandoning common sense and imposing McAuliffe’s so-called “progressive” agenda on the Old Dominion.
When North Carolina was ground zero last year for the hysterical left’s latest fear campaign during debate over that state’s effort to protect privacy and dignity, Governor McAuliffe went so far as to invite businesses in NC to move to Virginia.
The latest analysis from Forbes magazine indicates that Mr. McAuliffe’s efforts have done little to help Virginia, while NC’s economy is doing just fine.
Forbes recent list ranking the best states in which to do business found North Carolina at #2, ahead of the Commonwealth's 6th place ranking.
Not a big deal, you say?
How about this. Seven of the top 10 states in Forbes rankings have not caved to the progressive left’s anti-freedom agenda that elevates sexual behavior to protected classification by adding “sexual orientation/gender identity” at the expense of safety, privacy and dignity.
Oh, and while Virginians are learning on a seemingly regular basis that many of Governor McAuliffe’s press releases about new jobs and business to Virginia have been unfulfilled or are just a tiny bit exaggerated, North Carolina has added thousands of jobs, particularly in high tech. In fact, despite the rhetoric that NOVA is the Silicon Valley of the east, Raleigh, NC has seen an over 38 percent increase in tech jobs since 2010, second only to San Francisco in that time period. Charlotte was also in the top 20 list of cities with increased tech jobs. No city in Virginia is on the list. It seems the new economy Terry McAuliffe promised has moved just a little bit down the road, to North Carolina.
Despite the well-funded, cultural elitist driven campaign of fear against North Carolina and the best efforts of Virginia’s salesman-in-chief, the Tar Heel state is crushing Virginia in jobs and business climate.
But wait, you say, the North Carolina governor just lost his race! See, there’s proof that protecting human privacy and dignity are losing issues.
Not so fast. While that race is still being contested, it’s important to note that nearly every Republican who favored the bill the left is hysterically attacking as hateful and bigoted kept their seats. One state House leader of the bill easily won a seat in the state Senate – in a district near Charlotte, the epicenter of the left’s fear mongering.
If we learned anything from this year’s national election it’s that you really can’t believe anything the national media tells you. Sadly, this has brought about so-called “fake news,” but it also must make you question everything you’ve been told by the media about what’s been happening in North Carolina and the consequences for that state’s economy. The reality is, North Carolina’s economy is booming while Virginia’s remains stagnant and continues to rely too heavily on the federal government.
Virginia’s lawmakers are likely to use the potential defeat of Governor McCrory as reason enough not to defend and protect the privacy and safety of women and children in Virginia. They’ll conveniently argue that such efforts will make Virginia less “welcoming” to business and hurt our economy. In doing so, they will have fallen for the media-driven narrative that makes their fear of taking a stand seem reasonable. The Virginia media and editorial pages will provide all the assistance they need, and they’ll all pat themselves on the back for their pragmatism and vision. But they’ll be wrong, and consequently, jobs will continue to flow to North Carolina instead of our Commonwealth, and the privacy and dignity of women and children will be sacrificed.