Speaker Howell on the GOP agenda
"Bipartisan cooperation" seems to be the buzzword running through Richmond these days and it shows up again in the RTD's article outlining Speaker Howell's view of the GOP agenda for this session.
Obviously the focus is going to be transportation and Howell has come out against any raising of the gas tax, which is encouraging. This line is also encouraging: "A real solution won’t be provided by just throwing more money at the problem (like raising the gas tax) and sending a blank check to VDOT."
There appears to be momentum for some form of tax relief, particularly a Back-to-School Tax Holiday. However, the cause of fiscal responsibility suffers when we focus solely on tax cuts and pay no attention to the runaway spending that Democrats use to justify tax increases. Speaker Howell did pledge to "carefully examine" the proposed new spending initiatives, but one must wonder whether the will exists to go any farther.
"Bipartisan cooperation" is all well and good, and is certainly necessary to have an effective state government. However, it is too often the case that fiscal disipline is the first casualty when legislators start talking about ways to spend their constituents' money.