The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Deconstructing the Roanoke Times

Just for fun, here is an article in today's Roanoke Times about Virginia's financial situation:
ASHBURN -- Virginia's general fund tax collections will increase enough to meet the state's basic spending commitments over the next two years and perhaps allow for some new initiatives, legislative budget writers learned Tuesday.

By "new initiatives" they mean to say that the government has taken too much of your money, but they'll be damned if they're giving it back.

But the chairman of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee warned colleagues to exercise restraint as they moved toward passing a spending plan for the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1.
Restraint is not in the General Assembly's vocabulary
"While Virginia's fortunes have turned around, I am mindful of the fact that Virginia's economy is like a roller coaster -- what goes up eventually comes down," said Del. Vince Callahan, R-Fairfax County, as he opened the committee's annual retreat at the national conference center near Dulles Airport.

My those were dire straights, weren't they? Dire, I tell you!
In separate presentations, the committee's staff director and an economist told lawmakers that Virginia's economy is slowing from a torrid pace that has fueled double-digit revenue growth in each of the past two years. But budget experts still expect strong enough growth -- between 5.5 percent and 6 percent -- to cover more than $2 billion in anticipated cost increases for education, health care, public safety and debt service.
What? I thought Governor Warner told us Virginia's economy was going down the tubes. What happened?

Callahan said lawmakers should emphasize those priorities and allocate any surplus funds to infrastructure needs, such as transportation, and to Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.
The state closed out the last fiscal year with a $544 million surplus. Early projections indicate the state will collect $1.1 billion more than forecast in the current fiscal year, said Robert Vaughn, the staff director of the Appropriations Committee.
Oh, I guess those projections were only off by a smidge then. What's a billion dollars here or there. Um, remind me why we raised taxes again?

Gov. Mark Warner will start the budget process next month by submitting a two-year spending plan to the legislature's money committees. Gov.-elect Tim Kaine will offer his own spending proposals when he takes office in January. Kaine's top campaign spending priorities included universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, though he has yet to say how much funding he will seek for the initiative.
You mean Tim Kaine actually has to make good on all those promises now? Guard your wallets and purses, folks.
Callahan said lawmakers cannot afford to repeat mistakes made during the mid- to late-1990s when the General Assembly responded to an economic recovery by making spending commitments and tax cuts that could not be sustained when growth slowed.
Glad to see someone place the responsibility for fiscal irresponsibility where it belongs, in the General Assembly.
Callahan's Senate counterpart, Sen. John Chichester, R-Stafford County, offered a similar assessment after listening to Tuesday's presentation.
"While we're living in pretty good times, and the alternatives are far worse, we've both made mistakes in good times and neither one of us wants to repeat those," said
Chichester, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Chichester said he's willing to consider using surplus dollars for one-time transportation costs. But he and other Senate leaders also are preparing a long-range
transportation plan to be released Friday.
Oh, tell us great Oracle of the Senate, what is the solution to all our problems in life? What's that you say? Higher Taxes? Fascinating.
Kaine also has vowed to make progress on transportation. He will hold a public forum on the subject today at 5:15 p.m. at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.
Wish I could be there. I also wish someone would explain why we should trust the General Assembly with even more of our money when they obviously can't take care of what they've got. Geez.


Anonymous Tugboat Phil said...

I heard Gov-Elect Kaine on WRVA in Richmond Monday morning. He was touting his plan to have 5 town hall style meetings to discuss his transportation plan. That sounded good. He did say during the campaign that he had a plan.

He went on to say that the town hall meetings were to develop a concensus on what would be the best plan. Let's see, he had a plan and now he's taking input on what the plan should be. He's developing a concensus, which means that he wants to get his ideas from a committee.

Did he ever campaign about having the LEADERSHIP to run the state?

9:45 AM

Blogger I'm Not Emeril said...

Great applause...
very good O.Z.
The Roanoke Times provides me with almost daily inspiration, (as well as this).
I thank you for picking up the slack while I am too busy to do justice to my blog recently.

8:38 PM


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