Archive for December, 2009
Delegate Kirk Cox on WRVA with Jimmy Barrett on December 30, 2009 discussing the War of 1812, and shifting the budget process in Virginia.
In today's Richmond Times Dispatch, Paul Goldman, former state Democratic chairman, offers the most succinct summary of Kaine's good-luck-see-ya-later budget:
"This is some kind of a statement," said Paul Goldman, a former state Democratic chairman and critic of his party's reliance on tax increases. "It's not intended to be passed, and it's not likely to be taken seriously."
After noting opposition by House Republican leaders and Governor-elect McDonnell, RTD staff writer Jeff Schapiro couldn't find a Democrat from the Senate (what he calls the Democrats "last redoubt of power on Capitol Square") to say anything nice about the Governor's proposal.
See the full article in the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Following Kaine's presentation to the General Assembly's money committees of his budget, Speaker Howell issued a statement (see
Howell committed the House Republican Caucus to working with Governor-elect McDonnell to delivering a structurally balanced budget on times, matching spending to available revenue.
Speaker Howell and House Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney wrote to Senators Warner and Webb about the extensive costs that Obamacare would impose on state government (see
In addition to the impact of adopting so-called Health Care Reform on the Federal budget deficit, Howell and Putney detail the impact on Virginia's budget. Fearing that the Democrats in Congress will try to hide the true costs of this ill-considered Pelosi-Reid health care scheme, Howell and Putney did extensive research to document the costs that would have to be born by Virginia (which is to say Virginia taxpayers).
Howell and Putney close by noting that 54 percent of Virginians oppose the Health Care bill. They also recite the common-sense proposals for real reform that have been left out of this ill-considered legislation--medical malpractice reform, association health plans, and expanded health savings accounts.
Speaker Bill Howell continued to show Republicans leading the way in their commitment to fiscal restraint, responding to shortfalls from the Governor's revenue estimates by cutting costs in the House of Delegates budget.
The Speaker announced cuts and cost saving measures of $1 million in the House operating budget for FY2010 (
Under Republican leadership, the Virginia General Assembly now ranks 46th among the 50 states in per capita spending on legislative operations (and 5 state legislatures meet only every other year). Virginia ranked 40th when Howell was elected Speaker in 2003.
In a letter signed by Lt.Gov Bolling, Speaker Howell, Senator Norment and Senator Wampler Governor Kaine is urged to balance the state's budget without increasing taxes.
Full text of the letter:
December 10, 2009
The Honorable Timothy M. Kaine
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Dear Governor Kaine:
As you complete your work on the 2010-2012 budget for introduction on December 18, we recognize you undoubtedly face many difficult decisions in balancing the Commonwealth’s budget.
No Governor or General Assembly wantonly enjoys making difficult choices to cut spending or to end non-performing government programs providing services to the people of Virginia. Yet, the fact remains that we, as elected officials, have an obligation to the taxpayer to live within our existing revenue constraints. This is no different than what taxpayers, families and businesses must do every day in their own lives.
This past August, in your remarks to the Joint Money Committees, you stressed up front the fact that unlike many other states, Virginia did not increase the “tax burden on our citizens and businesses.” We applaud the fact that you recognized then that a tax increase would be an additional burden on Virginians who already are getting squeezed on many fronts.
Over the last several weeks, published reports indicate that a tax increase remains on the table as part of your soon-to-be-released budgetary package on December 18. Today, we write to strongly encourage you to maintain the course of balancing Virginia’s budget without a tax increase.
The incoming administration has set forth very clearly that they will not support a tax increase, a position that was strongly affirmed by the voters throughout Virginia in November. Likewise, members of the House of Delegates, while running for election this year, did not advocate a tax increase. Accordingly, we believe it would be counterproductive at the very least if your final proposed budget included any increase in existing taxes, proposals of new taxes or reductions to major tax relief programs.
With Virginians already uneasy about their employment status and personal finances, they clearly have withdrawn from making major non-discretionary purchases, as evident from monthly state tax collections. So, it seems unfathomable to us that government might now extract from them involuntarily additional tax revenue that they seemingly are unable to pay voluntarily.
As witnessed in the past, injecting an unworkable and economically harmful tax increase into the state spending blueprint would serve only to delay the inevitable. It would put at risk the many positive steps we have advanced together over your term in office. Embedding tax increases within the state budget also would do a huge disservice to those of us who will continue serving the Commonwealth in the upcoming session.
Virginia has a proud and long-standing tradition for fiscal prudence and sound budget practices. It is a legacy we intend to protect in the legislature. And, it is a legacy we sincerely hope you will join us in respecting and safeguarding in your final days in office.