Friday, February 22, 2013

OP-ED: Shame if GOP caves on Democrats’ transportation

FREDERICKSBURG — Democrats want Gov. Bob McDonnell to expand Medicaid and veto photo-ID at the polls. In exchange, they might vote for a transportation bill before the General Assembly concludes its business Saturday.

While the governor  desperately wants his roads package to pass – even in its heavily amended form – taxpayers should be wary of Democrats bearing legislative gifts behind closed doors.

As Phil Kerpen, of American Commitment, put it: “This deal is bad policy and bad politics, and should be rejected by supporters of limited government.”

Medicaid expansion is a non-starter for Republicans, who note that taking more money from bankrupt Washington to pour into a broken system hardly constitutes a sustainable deal for Virginia.

On the other hand, McDonnell has every reason to sign Sen. Mark Obenshain’s photo-ID bill. Despite the risible rhetoric from Democrats, several states north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line have such common-sense laws on the books. Virginia should, too.

Neither Medicaid nor secure elections should be held as some cheap bargaining chip for a transportation bill.

As for transportation, Democrats in the Senate had multiple opportunities to craft a bill of their own. They never did. Instead, they simply stonewalled every idea that Republicans offered.

Now they want the GOP to bow and scrape for their support at the eleventh hour. Seems that Richmond is looking more like Washington in these waning days of the legislature.

But there’s a big difference. While the federal government continues to sink deeper into debt via “continuing resolutions,” Virginia has a duly enacted balanced budget that’s in effect through June 30, 2014.

The General Assembly doesn’t have to approve any additional taxing or spending plans for anything. The commonwealth already has that covered.

Still, reckless Democrats want more taxing and spending. And that’s really what these final 48 hours are all about.

If McDonnell doesn’t get his “legacy” transportation package passed, so be it. Virginians don’t need more taxes foisted on them, especially by a party that couldn’t garner enough votes to win the governor’s office or a majority at the Statehouse.

Between 2000 and 2012, the Virginia state budget expanded by $19 billion — an 89 percent increase. Over the same period, the commonwealth’s population grew by only 14 percent.

“Virginia has plenty of money for transportation, without additional tax hikes,” notesArthur Purves, of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance. “Rather than raise taxes, elected officials should better manage the revenue they have.”

Kenric Ward is chief of’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary



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