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Posts Tagged ‘General Assembly’

The Kaine Hole Keeps Getting Deeper

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell sat down today with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and outgoing Governor Tim Kaine (oh, how sweet it is!) to hear the budget projections for the coming year. And the news is not good. From the AP:

Gov. Timothy Kaine on Monday met with his Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates to hear state fiscal projections, the final such meeting of his four-year term. Kaine then will likely use the most conservative revenue figures — updated at the end of the month to include November tax receipts — as the foundation of his proposed biennial budget, which he will present to the General Assembly’s money committees Dec. 18.

After the meeting, Kaine and other legislators didn’t disclose figures but said the estimates the council heard Monday largely squared with information presented last week to General Assembly budget writers. Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker projected that Virginia needs to cut at least $250 million more from its budget, and face an anticipated shortfall of nearly $3 billion for the next two years.

His Excellency Kaine’s first path to look to? Why, more tax hikes, of course.

Kaine said Monday he wouldn’t rule out proposing tax increases to help preserve core services, Virginia’s AAA bond rating and its competitiveness with other states — but the General Assembly would ultimately decide.

DJ notes that maybe somebody missed the memo delivered to Democrats on November 3rd:

After all, it’s not as if the last fellow to call for a tax increase went down to the greatest landslide defeat in almost fifty years . . .

The always practical Norm lays out the challenges facing those who were selected on November 3rd to lead our great Commonwealth:

This will be a test of several things…

1. Bob McDonnell’s “read my lips” pledge not to increase taxes;

2. The General Assembly’s appetite for higher taxes, considering they have cut (to and through the bone) every hint of unnecessary spending;

3. The Republican House’s newly-elected members, many of whom have never faced a withering media drumbeat for greater taxes.

One longtime legislative hand is already sensing that this mess may lead to extra innings, particularly thanks to the coming health care bills out of DC. From NBC29:

At least one lawmaker says he might have a solution. 19th District Independent Delegate Lacey Putney, the committee’s chairman, suggested “The possibility of coming into session, maybe recessing, let the members go back, except the money committees working on the budget, in order to give us time to see what they’re going to do in Washington.”

Putney said discussions about that plan were ongoing.

A delay could give budget writers a chance to understand the financial obligations required by federal health care bills. But it would also drag out the legislative session, a scenario that could cause problems of its own.

Thank heavens that we elected a man of principle to the Governor’s Mansion. Having worked for the man, I have no doubt that McDonnell will live up to his promises. Indeed, he was never part of the “country club”/good government set that dominated the Caucuses for too long. Still, its going to be a bumpy ride, and we the people need to keep up the pressure on our legislators in Richmond.

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Another Entry in the 17th

After William Fralin announced his surprise retirement from the House of Delegates after three terms, there’s been a great deal of scrambling amongst potential candidates.

First out of the gate: Melvin Williams, a Roanoke attorney. At 36 years old, he would join the younger end of the House, with Delegates Lohr and Gilbert. Second to announce was  Josh Johnson, a UVA Law grad and attorney in Roanoke. 

Announcing his intention to NOT run: Adam Boitnott, Chair of the 17th Legislative District Committee and Roanoke City Committee Chair. Mr. Boitnott has been widely admitted throughout the 6th Congressional District for his efforts with the Roanoke Valley Republican Blogs and nearly ubiquitous emails on behalf of the committee, but he cited family and financial concerns in his decision not to run. 

With several candidates rumored to still be considering the race and the district a relatively stable but moderate red area, expect quite a battle for the right to lead our party to victory in November. We’ll have news about these and other primaries as they develop throughout the 6th and 5th Congressional districts.

Congratulations Amy Tisinger!

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

I don’t know what I’m more excited about: the fact that my good friend has been elected to a judgeship, or that I scooped all the local media outlets, if only by default because no one else is crazy enough to be watching this stuff on a Saturday night. 

All kidding aside, I am very happy for Amy, who was elected to a General District Court position beginning July 1st of this year. Though her presence will be sorely missed on the Shenandoah County Committee, I know that her election is a boon for the Commonwealth, which will be getting a brilliant and tough but fair legal mind. 

Congratulations once again, Amy.

Omeish Returns

February 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Esam Omeish is running for the Democratic nomination to succeed Delegate Steve Shannon, who is running for Attorney General. Hmmmm, where does that name sound familiar from. 

OH! Now I remember! From Garren Shipley:

Omeish, the president of the Muslim American Society at the time, came into the political limelight nearly two years ago after he was appointed to the Commission on Immigration by Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine. 

The appointment didn’t sit well with Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, a fellow member of the commission. The society was too closely connected the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian group that gave rise to Hamas, for his taste. Gilbert wrote to Kaine and asked him to reconsider the appointment.

A spokesman for the governor at the time dismissed Gilbert’s concerns as “innuendo, moving dangerously close to slander,” and challenged Gilbert to offer proof. Omeish resigned less than a day later, after online videos came to light in which Omeish accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians and exhorted Muslims to “the jihad way.”

I realize that the Virginia General Assembly has precious little to do with foreign affairs, but do we really want someone who has so openly and viscerally denounced one of our key allies in the War on Terror? 

Notes from Capitol Square

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Alright, I know that I’m a few days late on this one, but I still wanted to share my thoughts and observations about my day at the Capitol. These are kinda free form, but here we go. Musings below the fold. 

Read more…

Republicans on the move on Health Care

January 29, 2009 Leave a comment

With health care being one of the many aspects of modern life that is aggravating the current economic crisis, Virginia House Republicans are reacting with some ideas to ease the burden on small business owners. From the RTD:

Del. Daniel W. Marshall III, R-Danville, wants to give employers with 50 or fewer workers health-insurance coverage that does not include some or all of the mandates required by the state in health insurance

This proposal will likely be the most criticized of the bunch. However, it should be noted that this proposal will open the door to health care of some kind for a variety of workers and reward innovation by not penalizing workers who work for smaller but ambitious companies that may not yet be able to afford a full healthcare plan. 

Meanwhile, there are plans to require stricter technological standards in medical records management. 

Del. Samuel A. Nixon Jr., R-Chesterfield, is proposing a bill that would create a study to develop computer standards for health-care providers. His bill directs the state’s Information Technology Investment Board to develop standards for health information technology systems and software.

If you have ever experienced healthcare at the University of Virginia Health System, you know the ease of having all your information and appointments in a central source (and how trying it can be if one piece of data is incorrect, i.e., a single digit in your social, but, garbage in, garbage out). A final bill rewards healthcare providers who want to expand their facilities but are currently strangled by excessive regulations:

A third measure, proposed by Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, R-Newport News, already has passed the House on an 88-0 vote. It would reduce from 21 to eight the number of criteria used by the state’s health commissioner when determining whether to allow new or expanded health-care facilities. Hamilton said a less cumbersome application would save time and money.

All in all, the sort of ideas based proposal that is reflective of the economic situation that the RPV and its elected officials should be focused on.

Episode #2 of The Big O Show

January 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Episode 2 is live! Synopsis coming in a bit.