Governor Kaine is predictably calling for tax increases to help address a biennial budget shortfall, along with spending cuts. Increasing the burden of government on the citizens during uncertain economic times when many of us have less is utterly ridiculous. Given the choice between forking over an increasing amount of our declining incomes, or telling our government that they have to do with less just as we are, Virginians should be outraged at the notion that it’s time for us to pony up more. Attorney General Bob McDonnell makes no bones about his distaste for this foolishness, albeit in more diplomatic language than I am inspired to use.
“We face a very difficult economic climate. The stock and real estate markets have contracted, and most businesses are not making new investments. The unemployment rate is rising, and people are hurting. Most citizens of Virginia have been affected. The budget of the Commonwealth has not escaped this downturn. The Commonwealth faces a shortfall of at least $3 billion. This significant deficit requires immediate action. The Governor has outlined a series of proposals. Some are sound and I will support them. Others I do not support.”
“Spending in Richmond has increased significantly. The budget has doubled over the past ten years. With this downturn in the economy comes the opportunity to look for efficiencies in government, and find the best ways to deliver quality government services at a reduced cost to taxpayers. We did this in The Office of the Attorney General. We cut our budget by nearly 15% over the past year. While we are only one small part of the overall government, this does show that spending can be reduced, without hurting the quality of our services.”
“The Governor has called for some significant reductions in spending. This is the proper course of action to address this shortfall, and I applaud this work. I am disappointed however that the Governor has called for a tax increase. You should not raise taxes in a recession, and you cannot tax your way to prosperity. Another huge increase in the cigarette tax would potentially threaten a Virginia industry at a perilous time, while increasing the tax burden on many Virginia citizens and small businesses when they can least afford it.”
“We must work together to guide the Commonwealth through this financial downturn in a responsible manner. By taking the right steps today we can position Virginia to rebound in the economic recovery that will come. This is the time to look at more innovation, prioritization and consolidation to save money. This is the time to revisit every function of government and ask hard questions. Find what works and keep it. Identify what does not and cut it. I urge the Governor and the General Assembly to work together to solve our budgetary deficit in a responsible, and taxpayer friendly, manner.”
No word on whether Governor Kaine is willing to forgo spending money on publicly-funded pre-K (read public day care) or any of the other “initiatives” he thought were so crucial for Virginians to spend their money on last budget cycle. I’ve little doubt however that the House of Delegates at least will impose some fiscal sanity on our profligate Governor and perhaps our government won’t use this latest crisis as an opportunity to take even more of our hard-earned money away from us, just when we need it the most.
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