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Yet Again, A State Budget Crisis

By Greg L | 14 August 2008 | Virginia Politics | 13 Comments

Just a month and a half after the budget is adopted we learn there’s a shortfall that might amount to a billion dollars this fiscal biennium.  The dogged persistence of Governor Kaine’s thoroughly reckless fiscal behavior is approaching a level of pure absurdity, and is a thorough repudiation of the vapid rhetoric that he and Senate Democrats have been employing to justify irresponsible tax and spending hikes.  Outrageous doesn’t even begin to describe this.

In 2007 the Kaine administration made several “math errors” that forced the Commonwealth to figure out how to cover budget shortfalls amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.  You’d think after being so thoroughly embarrassed, Kaine would exercise a little more caution with the budget, but you;d be wrong.

During this year’s session of the General Assembly, Republicans quickly called foul when Governor Kaine’s Finance Secretary Jody Wagner projected an absolutely untenable revenue forecast as the departure point for budget negotiations last January, following on this record of fiscal failure.  A subsequent forecast resembling reality a bit closer encouraged Kaine to cut some of his additional spending somewhat, but he and his Senate allies still insisted on increasing spending during a time of economic uncertainty and hoping upon hope that second year revenues would be substantially greater than those in 2008-2009.  Unfortunately for them (and us as well), that hasn’t been the case at all, but that’s not much of a surprise.

As Bacon’s Rebellion points out, the additional spending has allowed the state to go on a hiring spree in our public universities which brought on an additional five thousand employees while the Governor tried to not spend hundreds of millions of dollars set aside in the General Fund for transportation.  Now that this budget crisis has been disclosed, Right Wing Liberal discovers that Kaine has no intention at all of protecting transportation spending, but wants to ensure we follow through on spending increases in education and human services.  Funny, I never heard a justification for tax hikes last year that alleged that we needed to raise taxes in order to spend more money on education and entitlement spending.

Secondly, I found something very interesting in the discussion of potential budget cuts (N-V again, emphasis added):

Kaine’s options for managing the latest gyrations of the budget will likely be shaped by his priorities. Since revenues began their retreat in spring 2007, Kaine and the legislature have generally sought to spare education, human services and law enforcement.

Notice anything missing from that list?  Say, transportation?  Just less than two months ago, Kaine called the General Assembly into special session because of transportation funding issues.  We were told this was so important that we had to raise taxes.  Yet when it comes to the things that would be spared the chopping block, transportation doesn’t make the list.
So once again it is demonstrated that when Kaine and his allies agitate for tax hikes saying we need to raise money for transportation, that’s about the last thing additional revenues will be directed to.  Instead, the Kaine crowd throws money at entitlements while starving transportation so they can circle back and cry that we don’t have enough money to even maintain the roads we currently have, all for the demonstrated purpose of growing state government and increasing entitlements.

If Democrats are trying to demonstrate how they are worthy of shouldering the responsibility for the finances of the Commonwealth, they’re doing a lousy job of it.  I’m rather pleased that the Special Session ended up halting Kaine’s proposed tax increases for transportation, as there’s little doubt about what those tax revenues would have actually been applied to.



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13 Comments

  1. BattleCat said on 15 Aug 2008 at 7:55 am:
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    Sounds like Kaine would make a great Obama-VP!

  2. Arlington Minority said on 15 Aug 2008 at 9:20 am:
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    Bait-and-switch, coupled with “crisis” rhetoric, are reliable tools of the taxing-and-spending trade, Greg, as you justifiably point out. BattleCat is probably right. The Governor is just sprucing up his CV for Obama VP consideration.

  3. anonymous said on 15 Aug 2008 at 11:18 am:
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    “When the tax revenues are low, let the potholes grow”.

  4. Rick Bentley said on 15 Aug 2008 at 11:28 am:
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    He won’t spnd a dime to protect his state’s workers from illegal immigration and illegal hirers though.

  5. Anonymous said on 15 Aug 2008 at 11:40 am:
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    BattleCat said on 15 Aug 2008 at 7:55 am:
    Sounds like Kaine would make a great Obama-VP!

    You are correct! How much trouble can he get into attending State funerals and tying Obamarama”s shoes?

  6. Anonymous said on 15 Aug 2008 at 11:42 am:
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    How about his state mandated baby sitting for 4 year olds? Thank God he only has one term!!!!!!

  7. Bob Wills said on 15 Aug 2008 at 2:57 pm:
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    And what haveFrederick and the other Republican delegats have done to solve the transportation problems? NOTHING and now that Frederick is head of the Republican Party we saw what his lack of leadership did to help solve the Transportation problems of VA.. Frederick did nothing as a delegate and will do nothing as head of the Republican party either. It is easy to just say NO but hard to actualy come up with a solution to a problem. How to the Delegate and BOCS keep getting elected? They blame someone else for their failures and do nothing attitude and the public buys into to he every time.

  8. Big Dog said on 15 Aug 2008 at 4:04 pm:
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    With what the Roanoke Times calls “undisguised asperity”,
    the state has generated a plan called - Local Aid
    to the Commonwealth - where local governments
    send extra money to Richmond and then hopefully
    get it back someday. The net impact is to balance the
    state budget as it unbalances the finances of every
    city and county in Virginia. This is BS and every
    member of the GA, Democrat and Republican,
    should be ashamed of themselves. ALL our
    representatives in Richmond need to take up again
    the burden of prudent governance - and that doesn’t
    include a shakedown of local jurisdictions.

  9. Karla H said on 16 Aug 2008 at 4:30 pm:
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    Any state overspending pales in comparison to Bush’s. Alfred E. Bush has doubled our national debt. And at the same time reduced taxes. Hell, I could cut taxes to zero if I had a big enough credit card. Don’t get me wrong… I’m conservative… the problem is that the neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are. If you can’t pay cash for something then that is God’s way of telling you that you can’t afford it. We need new leadership and a balanced budget, neither of which Obama nor McAlzheimer’s can provide.

  10. Arlington Minority said on 16 Aug 2008 at 8:24 pm:
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    Couldn’t agree more, Karla H., but if you think both parties are bad now, just wait until President Obama gets bombarded with social program spending bills from Pelosi and Reed.

  11. Red, White and Blue said on 16 Aug 2008 at 10:49 pm:
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    I repeat; until We The People DEMAND and ENSURE our leaders
    serve the People, no matter the party, the system shall and will remain broke. It is amazing to go to Richmond and watch some of these elected officials come and go during hearings and public testimony or already have their minds made up and could care less about what is the correct thing to do.
    I have seen this in both parties but it seems to come more from a few of the constantly re-elected lame ducks who come with their own agendas. It is disgusting how some of them act; as if their are regal, not elected to serve.

    Duck Colgan ran on “roads” he “built” - (around “his” airport). It only took him nearly 30 years to get some of it done. The Prince William County Parkway was forwarded locally after the State put it off time and time again. Saslaw serves himself most of the time and he is one of those who prances around during hearings. Gov Warner fine tuned numbers to push his tax increase by overstating the fact that the State was in the red when it wasn’t. Kaine is lame but Kilgore lost a race he should have won with a double digit lead because of his arrogance to some its citizens similar to George Allen. Many reupbilcnas are weak and many politicians forget who put them in office - the citizens.

    Money for roads is getting “lost” every year and it seems to be the reason to raise taxes but the roads still suffer, not completely to be fair, but more than it should. Blaming Frederick is not completely fair. He isn’t the governor and Saslaw and Colgan are two old power houses in the Senate. Duck has always tried to take care of his airport but little of anything else when it came to roads. Look how long it took to finally get Rt234 widened to completion.

    So what is the answer? Constantly bashing some politician who is trying is not good; re-electing lame jerks is real bad - but somehow they do it. Going to hearings in Richmond is real good. Visiting your representatives in Richmond is real good. Going there 2 or 3 times a year is stellar. Telling them what you think and following up with how they voted is priceless.
    For the ones who fail, wander, act as if they are a regal authority, lie, cheat and steal - we need to get good candidates and vote them in.

  12. Bob Wills said on 17 Aug 2008 at 7:04 pm:
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    Red, White and Blue said on 16 Aug 2008 at 10:49 pm:
    I repeat; until We The People DEMAND and ENSURE our leaders
    serve the People, no matter the party, the system shall and will remain broke.

    Money for roads is getting “lost” every year and it seems to be the reason to raise taxes but the roads still suffer, not completely to be fair, but more than it should. Blaming Frederick is not completely fair. He isn’t the governor and

    So what is the answer? Constantly bashing some politician who is trying is not good; re-electing lame jerks is real bad - but somehow they do it. Going to hearings in Richmond is real good. Visiting your representatives in Richmond is real good. Going there 2 or 3 times a year is stellar. Telling them what you think and following up with how they voted is priceless.
    For the ones who fail, wander, act as if they are a regal authority, lie, cheat and steal - we need to get good candidates and vote them in.

    RWB most of what you have said is very correct. But blaming Frederick is fair because he is one of the three local delegates for PWC and as head of the Republican Party should be leading not sitting back and doing nothing. One of the reason he and many like him get reelected is they say no tax increase. Well Fees imposed by government are a TAX as ruled by the VA Supreme Court in the NVTA ruling. And nothing will change until citizen who vote come to their senses are realize those ” NO TAX INCREASE ” pledges mean we do nothing or we will increase your cost of living in PWC or the Commonwealth by fees and still accomplish nothing. The next politician that blames someone else for our problems vote them out of office and vote in someone who has a solution not an excuse.

  13. Groveton said on 18 Aug 2008 at 3:26 pm:
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    NoVA’s politicians are failing their constituents. Both the Republicans and the Democrats serve the state parties instead of the citizens who elect them. The huge sucking sound you hear is money flowing from NoVA to RoVA. Our elected officials just stand by and watch. I guarantee what their answer will be to the deterioriating financial position in Virginia - tax NoVA more and spend the money downstate. This is what Mark Warner did. George Allen wasn’t much better. Jim Gilmore did a good job as governor. You can’t just pick a party and support it. You have to look at the individual candidates.

    Here’s a great example - Keith Fimian. Here’s what he wrote in a press release in June:

    “The money must stay in Northern Virginia,” said Fimian. “We are the Commonwealth’s economic engine and our taxes fund the rest of the state. We need to keep every new transportation dollar in Northern Virginia. The Governor’s plan is just another shell game where even more of our Northern Virginia tax dollars go downstate to regions that don’t need it. Getting stuck behind a tractor on the highway isn’t gridlock.”.

    http://www.keithfimian.com/media/advisories/action/?page=56305

    That is EXACTLY what NoVA needs. Politicians with guts. Politicians who represent their constituents instead of their state political parties.

    How can NoVA even consider Gerry Connolly for US House of Representatives? This guy Fimian is hitting the nail on the head while Jet Fuel Gerry is trying to give endless benefit to developers through the Tyson’s Corner Land Use Task Force.

    Blog sites like BVBL really need to highlight the difference between a guy like Keith Fimian and Jet Fuel Gerry.

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