Commonwealth Of Opportunity? Virginia Falls In Freedom Rankings . . . AgainDec. 16, 2013
The Fraser Institute released its annual study of economic freedom among the 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces last week and our neighbors to the north seem to be learning lessons that used to be ingrained American principles that we recently, seemingly, have eschewed. That includes the Old Dominion which dropped in the rankings, again. This time from 19 to 21 out of the 60 jurisdictions. According to a Fraser Institute statement, released in conjunction with the study:
The average score for U.S. states has fallen to 7.3 (out of 10) in 2011 from 8.2 in 2000 at the all-government level. While the Canadian provinces have also seen a decline (down to 7.4 in 2011), on average they are now freer than U.S. states.
"The freest economies operate with minimal government interference, relying on personal choice and markets to decide what's produced, how it's produced and how much is produced. As government imposes restrictions on these choices, there's less economic freedom," said Dean Stansel, study co-author and economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.
The top of the freedom pecking order of freedom reads like this: The Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Delaware third followed by Texas and Nevada. After that, the highest states are Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, Utah and Illinois, which rank eight through 14, respectively.
Andrew Young, an associate professor of economics at West Virginia University, said the rankings were based on size of government, level of discriminatory taxation and amount of labor market freedom. Virginia's liabilities are the fact that government spending is a large part of the commonwealth's economy and its indirect tax burden on its citizens and businesses. Indirect taxes are property taxes, fees and such that are not spelled out directly, such as income or sales taxes.
Dr. Young told WRVA's Richmond Morning News yesterday (listen to the complete, and brief, interview below):
This is important because if you look at study after study . . . they consistently find that economic freedom — having smaller government, less regulation — this is linked to higher incomes and more job creation, just basically a more vibrant economy. ...
Virginia has been slipping over the years . . . and bloated government and onerous tax burden discourages businesses from investing in Virginia and creating jobs.
His solutions? Pretty basic and common sense, which many politicians in Virginia seem to have forgotten in recent years: 1. Reign in the amount of government spending. 2. Create less burden on businesses. You think that will happen in Virginia during the next four years if it didn't happen the last four? So much for the Commonwealth of Opportunity. Remember that? (Governor Bob McDonnell's outgoing budget, released yesterday, increases spending by $10 billion. See Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.)
Separately, a new study ranking the 50 states on opportunity also was released recently. Virginia ranked 15th. Vermont ranked first. Vermont? Virginia, first in freedom, now is easily outranked by states such as Vermont (home to the only publicly proclaimed socialist U.S. Senator, Bernie Sanders) and Canadian provinces in economic freedom and opportunity.
But there is good news: We're ranked higher than West Virginia, which is dead last in economic freedom, according to Fraser. In this day and age, take your wins where yo can get them.
Dr. Young's solution? 1. Reign in the amount of government spending. 2. Create less burden on businesses. You think that will happen in Virginia in the next four years if it didn't happen the last four?
Breaking News: Governor McDonnell Releases Statement On Senate Democrats Blocking Budget For Third TimeApr. 17, 2012
Following Senate Democrats unprecedented partisan rejection of the Virginia state budget, again, Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement:
Today, Senate Democrats cast the most fiscally reckless vote I have witnessed in my 21 years in office. They have killed an $85 billion state budget that benefits all Virginians, for one earmark regarding an 11.4 mile rail project in one district of the Commonwealth. That is extremely irresponsible. Senate Democrats, again, put partisan politics ahead of the needs of 8 million Virginians. They brought their political agendas to the Senate floor, and in the process have put at risk a Bristol teacher’s paycheck, a Chesterfield sheriff’s salary, healthcare for a senior citizen in Hampton, road projects in Richmond, and the fiscal soundness of the entire Commonwealth. Unfortunately, this is not the first time they have done so.
When the General Assembly convened in January, Senate Democrats were clear that they wished to use the state budget as a means to gain more committee assignments. As one Senate Democrat wrote at the time, “the real reason the Senate Budget must lose — at this point — is so the power balance in Richmond can be adjusted.” For the 60 days of the regular session, they refused to pass any budget, despite multiple individual meetings, letters and conversations with them. They voted down two budgets.
Last month, Senate Democrats gave a few policy reasons to explain their obstruction. They were met with broad accommodation by Senate Republicans. They sought more funding for healthcare and education. They gained it. In fact they gained nearly $170 million in reallocated funding for the issues they identified as priorities for their caucus. Throughout budget negotiations, Republican legislators and this office worked strenuously to ensure that Senate Democrats were heard in the budget process. Only after these compromises were achieved did Senate Democrats turn, in the last days of session, to a third reason for opposing a budget: toll abatement on the Dulles Toll Road.
Since 2009, when Governor Tim Kaine signed the deal on the tolls and the rates were publicized, and no state funding was provided, Senate Democrats were silent. They offered no objections to the tolls for nearly three years. Then, at the very end of this session, after killing two budgets on the floor, Senate Democrats decided that they would make that their next issue. This will have serious consequences for all Virginians.
Budgets are a tapestry of compromises. No legislator ever gets everything he or she wants in a governing fiscal document. Nonetheless, all involved can get much of what they seek if there is cooperation and civility in the process. The budget killed by Senate Democrats today was a positive document. This budget made historic investments in our higher education system so more Virginia students can access and afford our great colleges and universities. It reduced unfunded liabilities in our retirement system by nearly $9 billion by 2031, an historic achievement that ensures our dedicated state employees will receive the retirements they have been counting on. The budget combined accountability and innovation with over half a billion dollars in new funding for our K-12 system. It improved public education in the Commonwealth. And this budget provided fiscal liquidity and stability for Virginia as we continue to navigate a very uncertain economy. Now, Senate Democrats, continuing a trend, have killed a budget for a third time. They will have to answer to every single Virginian. This vote will have real consequences in creating uncertainty and chaos for local governments, school boards and countless agencies and individuals.
I encourage all Virginians to contact the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus today to let them know that this vote is unacceptable. First, the members killed the state budget to make a point about committee assignments. Then, they demanded more funding for healthcare and education, which they received. Then, they brought up an entirely new reason for voting against the budget, an earmark for am 11.4 mile rail project in one area of the state. Teacher and sheriff salaries are now at risk. Local governments and school boards do not know what level of state funding they will receive. Road and other state projects will have to be stopped in every single region in the near future. All because Senate Democrats continue to obstruct the passage of the state budget. They even killed the ‘caboose’ budget for the remainder of FY 2012, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Dulles tolls. This is an incredibly disappointing development. This is the kind of conduct we’ve come to expect out of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, where no budget has passed for over 1000 days. It is not the conduct we would expect from Democrats who serve in Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol. Senate Democrats need to hear from all Virginians about the direct and immediate impact their partisan posturing will have on the citizens of this Commonwealth.
Contact Senator Webb ASAP: Senate May Vote On DADT Today!Dec. 15, 2010
The United States Senate is likely to vote later today on a stand-alone bill that would repeal the military's longstanding "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy involving the enlistment of open homosexuals into our country's armed forces.
Please contact Senator Jim Webb immediately and urge him to vote against repeal!
Despite not having yet passed a budget or dealing with the tax code, liberals in Washington are obsessed with the one issue that didn't show up on the American people's list of priorities prior to Election Day. This blatant "in your face" to Americans that voted dozens of liberal out of office needs to be rejected.
Senator Webb, a military veteran, has expressed concern over repeal of DADT. He needs to hear from Virginians this morning on this important vote!
Please contact Senator Webb's office as soon as possible at 202-224-4024 or click here to e-mail him and urge him to vote against the "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal.
Looking For The Truth? Look At The Statistics: 1% Tax Increase Lowers GDP 2-3%Apr. 24, 2010
One of the most insightful and oft-quoted stock market analysts in the country is Virginia's very own Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist and managing director of Capitol Securities Management. His April 22 Early Morning Commentary quoted a profound statistic:
As per Bloomberg, next week the Treasury may sell an unprecedented $128 billion in notes which some believe might be the peak in issuance as the economy strengthens. At this juncture, primary dealers are estimating the Treasury will sell a record $2.4 trillion in debt in 2010 as compared to $2.11 trillion in 2009.
Regarding 2011, Treasury has stated the obvious that 2011 issuance will be based upon tax receipts and projected budget.
Will revenue and growth projections meet expectations? As written several times and as per the National Bureau of Economic Research, a tax increase of 1% of GDP lowers real GDP roughly 2% to 3%. In other words higher taxes lower GDP. Perhaps the only absolute is that taxes are going up next year.
Will revenue assumptions meet expectations, especially given that as per the IRS a record 47% of society will not pay federal taxes in 2009? Never have so few carried the burden of so many.
The NBER is a non-partisan, highly respected institution (it is the official arbiter of when recessions start and when they end). The highlighted statistic — not to mention the frightening aspect of Treasury debt — is something to heed: Raising taxes decreases economic activity, including job creation, tax generation (to reduce annual state and federal deficits and cumulative national debt), and, it reasons, access to health care.
So, exactly what has the Left done to us (against our collective will)? It has rammed through some of the largest tax increases in history through the health care bill, not to mention the plethora of other faults it encompasses. Is this ignorance? Demagoguery? Or just plain egalitarian socialism, where the playing field is leveled — so that everyone has horrible health care and chronically high unemployment? Maybe all of the above.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Left has lied, impugned and tried to discredit the Tea Party movement (ironic since in the same breath they say it is an inconsequential and contrived flash in the pan). One of the lies is that the movement should "thank" President Obama for lowering taxes for 95 percent of Americans, which is Orwellian. Be that as it may, there is no disputing what is scheduled to happen in several months as the Bush tax cuts sunset as well as the onset of the new health care law taxes.
So, who's actually telling the truth and what will be the actual outcome for the economy? Hint: Statistics don't lie.
Virginia News Stand: April 14, 2010Apr. 14, 2010
Annotations & Elucidations Headaches For The Regime
I don't know where to start. This certainly is one of our most gripping News Stands ever —all sorts of angles, topics and perspectives. We have sources and writers debuting today, such as BigGovernment.com, RealClearPolitics.com and NewsOK.com. We even have a link to a short ABC News report about Neil Armstrong slamming President Obama (on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 flight) for completely cutting NASA's manned flight space program. Not easy to go up against a living legend and international hero, so the president is predictably looking to retreat. On top of that headache for the regime is this embarrassment: The White House press corps is getting sued by a media organization for doing the president's "bidding." If that's not funny enough, John McCain is disavowing the "maverick" moniker and the RINO U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray Lahood, is moving us toward a bicycle society that has raised objections from even the sleepiest corners of the policy realm.
Not that it's all sweetness and light out there. A GOP couple was beat up in New Orleans while attending the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Jim Hoft of BigGovernment.com fingers the suspects. More: radical liberals are practicing what Saul Alinsky preached and are moving toward a confrontation with Tea Party activists. Brent Bozell and Michell Malkin both have a look.
In political news, Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics makes a compelling case for as many as a 100-seat GOP House gain in November, while the AP looks at the pending doctor shortage. Tony Blankley and James Antle both caution against GOP caution, in the elections and in opposing the next Supreme Court Justice nominee. The Wall Street Journal deconstructs liberals' arguments for extended unemployment insurance by quoting top Clinton and Obama economic advisor Larry Summers, while the great Walter Williams sets the record straight on the job-killing minimum wage. So: Get your taxes done, take a breather, and get to reading. Lots of informative and enlightening words today. Enjoy.
Virginia tax revenues increased in March (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
McDonnell: Critics are "uncivil and partisan" (The Daily Press)
New Virginia law kills free online tax-filing program (The Daily Press)
Budget tweaks lift manufacturers, public workers (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
Fimian calls for a ban on Earmarks (BearingDrift.com)
Perriello pulls in $600,000 in donations this year (Lynchburg News & Advance)
How Bad Could 2010 Really Get For Democrats? (Sean Trende/RealClearPolitics.com)
Doctor shortage? 28 states may expand nurses' role (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Neil Armstrong Criticizes President's Space Plan (ABC News video :46/RealClearPolitics.com)
White House press corps sued for doing Obama's 'bidding' (WorldNetDaily.com)
Gay Day of Silence a Waste of Tax Dollars, Critics Say (FoxNews.com)
Agitated McCain: Don't call me a maverick (Politico.com)
Big Easy Beatdown . . .GOP Official and Boyfriend Savagely Beaten Leaving SRLC Dinner (Jim Hoft/BigGovernment.com)
Transportation's bicycle policy hits potholes (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Aide to Democrat ex-congressman files harassment complaint (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Huckabee likens gay marriage to incest, polygamy (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Incentives Not to Work: Larry Summers v. Senate Democrats on jobless benefits (Editorial/Wall Street Journal)
Minimum Wage Cruelty (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)
Tea Parties vs. Hard-Left Protests (L. Brent Bozell, III/NewsOK.com)
John Paul Stevens Republicans (W. James Antle, III/The American Spectator)
Alinsky's Avenging Angels: Tea Party Saboteurs (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)
No More Profiles in Caution (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)
Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part 1Feb. 16, 2010
Below is the first part of a two part interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth, a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His articles and commentary can be read in publications and on the Internet, and heard on television and radio. He is a frequent speaker to numerous organizations, heads a consultancy, and is the editor of the widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Today, we talk about the current session of the General Assembly and touch on national politics. FamilyFoundationBlog.com: Dr. Holsworth, it's a great honor to have you answer some questions on our blog about the General Assembly and Virginia politics in general. So, thank you very much for participating in this interview. We greatly appreciate your valuable time and look forward to your insights and are big fans of your blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Are you ready for some questions?
Dr. Bob Holsworth: Thanks very much for the opportunity to be on your site.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Has anything surprised you about this session of the General Assembly? Has the Republican sweep and increased House of Delegates majority created a visible difference or is it too early to tell (i.e., waiting for the budget)?
Dr. Holsworth: Certainly, the Republican sweep in the House has made it even easier for the GOP to control the legislative outcomes in that chamber. But the Democratic control of the Senate can still pose substantial hurdles for the Governor and the House GOP. I was surprised that five Democrats in the Senate supported the Health Care Freedom legislation, symbolically repudiating former Governor Kaine and President Obama. All of these Democrats are in districts where the GOP could field competitive challengers and this tells you just how concerned Democrats have become about the impact of the national mood here in Virginia. At the same time, Senate Dems have summarily dismissed part of the McDonnell agenda such as dedicating royalties for off-shore drilling to transportation and changing the budget cycle. What will happen with the overall budget is still up in the air as Senate Dems actually disagree if they should present a budget that includes some of the tax increases in (former) Governor Kaine's recommended document or acknowledge the political reality that there will be no major tax increases and present a budget accordingly, even if it inconsistent with what they would really want to propose.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Governor Bob McDonnell ran on a jobs-creation platform and de-emphasized social issues. But social issues do play a role in the budget. Do you think he will go so far as to de-fund Planned Parenthood?
Dr. Holsworth: I think that you have phrased the question well. Some folks have said that McDonnell ran as a "moderate." My sense is that he ran as an economic conservative and gave less priority in the campaign to his social conservatism. I fully expect that McDonnell will sign almost all bills with a "social conservative" orientation that emerge from the legislative process. What's not entirely clear is how far his own proposals will move in this direction. He obviously made a symbolic change when he removed sexual orientation from the non-discrimination executive order with respect to state government workers. The question of whether he'll propose a budget amendment to de-fund panned parenthood will be seen by many of his supporters as a test of whether he will implement the values of social conservatism in the budget. If he does, there will be a substantial fight in the Senate and the media will surely portray it as a switch from the "moderation" of the campaign. If he doesn't, he'll disappoint a segment of his core supporters.
FamilyFoundationBlog: If Governor McDonnell proposes a host of "fees" instead of taxes to close the budget gap, how will that affect his support on the right? creation
Dr. Holsworth: If McDonnell is perceived as simply playing semantics with taxes, it will harm him not only with the right, but with many independents as well. He was very clear during the election about his belief that revenue increases should primarily come from economic growth and I would be very surprised if he has a post-election conversion to a different point of view, especially in this political environment.
FamilyFoundationBlog: Governor McDonnell is getting a lot of positive attention right now — giving the GOP response to the State of the Union, doing several national interviews, even one for Newt Gingrich's newsletter. Does he runs the risk of raising his own expectations?
Dr. Holsworth: I think of the smartest moves the new Governor made was to cancel his national interviews the day after his SOTU response. Virginians have made it clear that his first priority as Governor should be the Commonwealth and, in the long run, McDonnell's national stature will be most enhanced by having a strong approval rating in-state.
FamilyFoundationBlog: What chances do you give of real reforms this or next year in areas of budgeting and in recalculating SOQ spending?
Dr. Holsworth: The Senate has already rejected a key McDonnell proposal on changing the two year budget cycle. Recalculating SOQ spending has been an issue that many House Republicans have pointed to over the last few years as a reform necessary to rein in future budget increases. We've seen some willingness from both parties to look at items such as staffing ratios regarding non-instructional personnel. If there ever would be a time where the entire SOQ calculation would be readjusted, it would be in the kind of fiscal environment we have now. But polls show that schools remain extremely high on the public's priority list. In aggregate, school groups (teachers, superintendents, school boards, and principals) are extraordinarily well organized and very politically effective. Moreover, Virginia schools overall seem to perform extremely well — just this week, we ranked third in the nation in AP testing. I believe that the effort for major permanent structural changes in school funding will have substantial hurdles to overcome.
FamilyFoundationBlog: What are your thoughts on former Governor Doug Wilder calling for Tim Kaine's removal as Democrat National Committee chairman?
Dr. Holsworth: Former Governor Wilder noted that he had supported Tim Kaine for Vice-President, but did not feel that the DNC Chair was the best fit for his talents and skills. My guess is that there are a number of Democratic activists who are more comfortable with the sharp edges of a Howard Dean than the more cerebral approach to the position of Tim Kaine. The proof, of course, will be in the November pudding. Kaine will succeed if Democrats do far better than expected. But if November is a Democratic debacle, Kaine will be fingered for part of the blame.
Be sure to check back with us tomorrow afternoon for part two of our interview with Dr. Bob Holsworth as we look at next year's Congressional elections in Virginia, Senator Jim Webb's prospects in 2012, and the Tea Party movement.
Virginia News Stand: December 2, 2009Dec. 02, 2009
Annotations & Elucidations The Hunt Is On
Stephen Hunt won the three-way Republican "fire house" primary last night to secure the 37th Senate District nomination in the January 12 special election to fill the term of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Hunt, a former member of the Fairfax County School Board, won the heavy turnout primary handily over his two opponents. He now takes on Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax) who, until several days ago, didn't live in the district. He is renting a room from a friend who does in order to be eligible. Meanwhile, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell continues his PR offensive. Following up his meeting with House Democrats, he now will meet with leaders of the Senate. More substantively, he's asked for detailed reports from all state agencies in order to find efficiencies in a deficit-ridden budget. A good start. But ideas, if not money, are in large supply, and the governor-elect is getting them from everyone, from within and outside of his cadre. We post two, from Pat Nolan and Mike Thompson, both of Bacon's Rebellion.
Nationally, the left is losing it, and it doesn't get any better than that as far exposing who they are. Chris Matthews calls West Point cadets the "enemy" and the liberal mayor of Baltimore won't resign despite a theft conviction. Polls show independents fleeing the Obama/liberal camp, including young voters (ask soon-to-be-former Delegate Shannon Valentine) as Matt Friedeman of Rightly Concerned Blog notes.
But it's ClimateGate that continues to expose the left, particularly for putting ideology over science. Hmmm. Where have we heard that before? Now, look, it really is true, but it's the left that's been doing it all along. Just goes to show you . . . when the other side screams loud accusations at your side, it normally means it is they who are doing that which they accuse you. In other words, they're cracking up.
McDonnell asks for detailed reports from state agencies (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
McDonnell to meet with Senate leaders (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
Republicans nominate Hunt in 37th senate district (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
'Firehouse primary' gets busy turnout (Washington Times)
Houck says localities will feel pinch (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
Common Sense Prison Reforms Will Help McDonnell Close Budget Gap (Pat Nolan/Bacon's Rebellion)
Huge Opportunities for our Incoming Governor (Mike Thompson/Bacon's Rebellion)
'ClimateGate' deception continues to unfold (OneNewsNow.com)
Global warming e-mail scandal prompts resignation (AP/OneNewsNow.com)
Tempers flare as Senate debates healh care (AP/OneNewsNow.com)
After police killings, Huckabee defends clemency for suspect (Washington Post)
In D.C., a rift over plights for civil rights, gay rights (Washington Post)
Baltimore Mayor found guilty of stealing vows to stay on (AP/OneNewsNow.com)
All the president's Climategate deniers (Michelle Malkin/OneNewsNow.com)
Chris Matthews Calls West Point 'Enemy Camp' (Elijah Friedeman/The Millennial Perspective, Rightly Concerned Blog)
Young People Waking Up, Turning on Democrats (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)
Polls Show Democrats Are in Trouble (Elijah Friedeman/The Millennial Perspective, Rightly Concerned Blog)
Sally's Dream Comes True!Feb. 11, 2009
In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown's sister Sally tells him that for Christmas, "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share." Enter the "Stimulus" Package and Governor Tim Kaine.
Didn't have the Christmas you had hoped for? The Governor has a Web site for you!
Yesterday the Governor announced stimulus.virginia.gov, a Web site where you too can go and submit ideas and projects to be paid for by the "stimulus" bill being debated in Washington! In one of the more disturbing lines from the Governor's press release: "Projects will be evaluated and selected through a process similar to the way Virginia develops its biennial budget."
Wow . . . I feel better already.
Interview With Delegate Dave MarsdenFeb. 10, 2009
Here is our interview with Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Burke). We submitted the questions to him via e-mail and he replied and returned them to us within a couple of days. Here it is in its entirety — as the questions were submitted and as his answers were written — without editing. Familyfoundationblog: Delegate Marsden, thank you for joining us for this blog interview. Contrary to what some believe, we're all about bi-partisanship. Thanks for helping us reach out and build some bridges. More people should know we may disagree on some issues, but that both sides have a healthy respect for the opposite side's rights and duties to represent their points of view.
Let's get to the questions:
Familyfoundationblog: Everyone's talking about the deficit and the budget this session. Who's fault is it that we have this deficit? Aside from the budget, what issues will be the biggest this session and what are your expectations for this year's session? How's it gone so far? Delegate Dave Marsden: We have an outdated tax system prone to significant swings. Some of the proposals for funding transportation border on the ridiculous. This session has been fine, but budget decisions will be the most important issue.
Familyfoundationblog: Every year an interesting bill, whether ridiculous or of substance, flies under the radar, gains some momentum and causes a bit of a stir. Have you seen any such bill yet? If not, what bills not on the radar do you think are worthy of more attention?
Delegate Dave Marsden: None Familyfoundationblog: Over the last few election cycles, House Democrats have steadily increased their numbers. To what do you attribute this? What have the Democrats done right, what have the Republicans done wrong, or is it just a matter of changing demographics in Virginia, especially where you are from, in Northern Virginia? Delegate Dave Marsden: Republicans are voting ideologically and not solving problems.
Familyfoundationblog: Many people have the wrong idea, mainly because of the media's portrayal, but the General Assembly does about 95 percent of its work in a mostly bi-partisan manner. In the past social conservatives, moderates and liberals have worked on Pay Day Lending together and this year, even Planned Parenthood agreed with us on a bill (HB 1980, as amended, abstinence education/FLE). On what areas can conservatives, moderates and liberals work together?
Delegate Dave Marsden: My Civil Law sub-committee is the best example of non-partisan legislation I have seen, since I have been here. Familyfoundationblog: You are on the Courts of Justice Committee and two priority Family Foundation bills will (or have) come before the committee: HB 2634 (Unborn Child Pain Information) and HB 2579 (Ultrasound Viewing Before an Abortion). Critics say these are "extreme" bills, but most people think information and making informed decisions on anything in life, especially about life and health, is good and commonsense. What are your positions on these bills and why do you support or oppose them?
Delegate Dave Marsden: I do not support these bills. People should make their decisions without external mandates from the State. Also these bills are expensive and time consuming, which leaves the question, who pays? Familyfoundationblog: Another priority bill for us is HB 2314 (Religious Liberty for State Police Chaplains). Do you agree with the state police superintendent's decision to not let the chaplain's pray "In Jesus' name"? Isn't that their duty if they are Christian Chaplains?
Delegate Dave Marsden: We are not supposed to pray that way in the House of Delegates sessions, but we break that rule all the time. Delegate Marsden, thank you for your time during this very busy portion of session. We hope you enjoyed the experience and will come back again.
Ugly Numbers For GOP, But Good For Conservative Bloggers?Jan. 15, 2009
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: