Governor “Gridlock” Kaine has announced some of the changes he is proposing to the compromise transportation plan on his website, and while there’s not enough detail posted yet to really figure out what his proposed changes are, there’s one that really seems to be a stunning turnabout for him. After complaining that issuing debt in order to pay for transportation improvements, he wants to raise the amount of bonds that would be issued, perhaps to the point where Virginia would reach the debt ceiling above which the states “AAA” bond rating would be jeopardized. I suppose he was against it before he was for it, in some strange recap of the 2004 John Kerry presidential campaign.
As far as I can tell the only tax hike is an increased tax on diesel fuel. Hopefully the full scope of the proposed changes will soon be made available, and the link to the document which shows the expected financial impacts of these changes will be fixed. There could be a lot of hidden mischief underneath these summaries, or it’s possible that Kaine finally understood how badly he was outmaneuvered this session and offered window-dressing in order to not appear so entirely irrelevant. With more evaluation of his proposed changes, this should become more clear.
In other legislative news, the Governor has vetoed changes to the states death penalty statutes which would allow juries to consider the death penalty for those who murder judges, witnesses and those arranging murder-for-hire. Despite his campaign promises of being in favor of the death penalty, it seems that his actual position is somewhat different. Color me surprised. At any rate, I’m confident the General Assembly will override these vetoes and further demonstrate how out of touch the Governor’s policies are from the Virginia electorat
UPDATE: It seems that after complaining that the $185 million in proposed spending from the General Fund was an improper use of General Fund revenues, Kaine’s solution is to raise that spending to $215 million annually. I guess he doesn’t think that spending General Fund revenues is a bad idea after all. What the heck was all that whining about this earlier, though, if all he was going to do was increase the amount from the General Fund that would be used?
UPDATE 2: Jerry Furman has a good recap of what the proposed changes are, and consolidates all of the statements from Bill Bolling, Bob McDonnell and Speaker Howell.
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