Budget: Historic and Trend-Setting
early pundit reactions to Virginia’s budget deal are
in. The budget adopted Friday represented a potentially
historic political shift away from anti-tax sentiment.
Other states may soon follow Virginia’s model,
representing a new attitude toward financing government
course, in a few weeks other pundits will tell us the
deal was aberration and other states will reject the new
taxes that Virginia legislators accepted.
Schapiro of the Richmond
Times-Dispatch, perhaps too wistfully, compared the
2004 deal to the 1954 budget deal that demonstrated the
first cracks in Byrd machine that had dominated Virginia
politics for generations.
He speculated that this budget deal might mark
the decline of anti-tax forces.
the Daily Press,
Lessig and Kimball Payne discussed the possible
“ripple effect” of the Virginia deal on Kansas and
Texas, states where some Republicans are breaking ranks
with anti-tax advocates. The
Virginia experience could embolden those Republicans
flirting with raising revenue — or it could rouse
anti-tax forces to fight harder than they did in the Old
Morse avoided drawing grand conclusions and looked
at the message of the pro- and anti-tax leaders to
explain the result. In
Post, he compared Governor Warner’s approach to
that of the Republicans
hit the bricks -- easel and flip charts tucked under his
arm -- and went from community to community …Warner
made his case without acrimony and insult.” In
contrast, Republican office-holders and operatives laced
their statements with hyperbole and invective. Every tax
proposal was a "massive" tax increase; every
variance with the status quo threatened to cripple
Virginia's "working class men and women."
Morse noted the “rummaging in the pork trough” of
two leading anti-taxers, asking, "Do these
Republican leaders understand that to effectively
challenge the governor's credibility it might help to
have some themselves?”
aroused are Virginians over the budget deal?
On the day that the tax deal was announced, the Washington
Fisher had to pull a reaction from his online
were much more interested in the case of Alexandria
School Superintendent Rebecca Perry.
She kept her job in this era of zero tolerance
despite an arrest for drunken driving.
Label on a Fresh Voice
conservative columnist is now regularly writing in the Roanoke
Times, an op-ed page sorely in need of that
Lynch, an associate professor of political science
at Hollins University. Sample
analysis: “There would not have been any serious talk
about a tax increase if Virginia had a Republican
governor, or indeed, if we had a Democratic governor
less concerned with his own national ambitions.”
Lynch’s column comes with the disclaimer that
his opinions are not necessarily those of Hollins
University, a disclaimer rarely seen when other
educational institution employees write in the Times.
Thorne, an attorney representing Equality Virginia,
a gay and lesbian rights organization, had harsh words
for the actions of the 2004 General Assembly.
Writing in the Washington
Post, she called the Marriage Affirmation Act passed
by the Assembly “21st-century apartheid, Virginia
ended her piece with a passionate plea:
we, as a commonwealth, ready to write another chapter in
our history of intolerance? Will we accept the simple
truth that gays are deserving of fundamental human
rights or will we once again rush to the parapets to
defend the commonwealth against enlightenment?
the nation grappled with a monstrous prison scandal in
Iraq, the pages of the Roanoke
Times debated conditions in Virginia’s prisons.
Butler, a school employee, bemoaned the lack of hot
meals in prison and wrote, “If you can tell a lot
about a society by the way it conducts its prisons, we
Virginians are in a lot of trouble.”
Granger Macfarlane, a former state Democratic State
Senator and former Chairman of the Board for the
Department of Corrections, made an even more serious
that he had tried to implement “new ideas,” he
the governor, the senior administrative staff of the
secretary of public safety nor the senior corrections
liaison advisers from the office of the attorney general
had the slightest interest in making any positive
changes that would produce reform and save very large
amounts of money for the commonwealth.
Corridors, Two Solutions
Coates, a transportation consultant and specialist in
“Maglev” (magnetic levitation) technology, wondered
why Metro officials were pursuing “outdated and
underperforming transportation” solutions for a route
from Falls Church to Dulles Airport.
In a Washington
Post piece, he made the case for maglev.
It would offer 10 minute trips, have less impact
on the right-of-way, and would cut maintenance costs in
in the Roanoke Times, Randolph
Gregg called for passenger rail service along the
op-ed from one of Governor Warner’s cabinet
secretaries is fairly common, but a poem is something
rare. Secretary of
Commerce and Trade Michael Schewel entered A. Barton
laureate contest in the Richmond
Times-Dispatch and had at least an excerpt
published, including such images as “burnished
business towers” and “burdened clouds.”
of Hinkle, he furthered his Renaissance Man-as-pundit
credentials by devoting a column
to weblogs. He
revealed that he regularly reads Bacon’s
Rebellion, including “Virginia Pundit Watch, the
bloggiest feature on the site.”
All pundits should be so discriminating…
May 10, 2004