He received his undergraduate education
from the University of Virginia and his law degree
in 1968 from T.C. Williams School of Law at the
University of Richmond, where he was
editor-in-chief of the University of Richmond
After serving as a law clerk to the
Honorable Albert V. Bryan, Sr., Judge of the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit, Mr. McSweeney served as an associate with
Mays, Valentine, Davenport & Moore in
served in a variety of positions at the United
States Department of Justice from 1971 to 1973
where he rose to the position of Acting Assistant
Attorney General in charge of the Office of
Legislative Affairs. From 1974 to 1977, Mr. McSweeney was the
executive director of the Virginia Commission on
State Governmental Management, which proposed and
successfully implemented a sweeping reorganization
of state government. He also served as counsel to the Governor's
Management Study from 1970 to 1972 and as staff
attorney to the Taxation and Finance Committee of
the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Revision
Mr. McSweeney and the late Roy Smith jointly
directed a successful campaign to defeat the
proposed pledge bond amendments to the Virginia
Constitution. He was also actively involved in the
successful 1998 campaign to defeat two proposed
amendments to the Virginia Constitution that would
have made it easier for localities to incur debt
without voter approval.
In 1977, he founded the predecessor of his
present firm, McSweeney & Crump, P.C. Mr. McSweeney is engaged primarily in the
practice of civil litigation.
publishes a weekly column on politics in The
Response to Norman Leahy. Our
call for an alternative transportation policy is indeed
"conservative" -- organized around free
markets, an aversion to subsidies and devolution of
government power to the local level.
the Wrong Road.
GOP transportation plan would employ "subject-to-appropriation" bonds similar to
the "pledge" bonds that voters rejected in
1990. Very bad idea.
Has to Pay.
transportation system needs more money, but not all
fund-raising schemes are created equal. Some
perpetuate the status quo while others encourage
the Tax-and-Spend Cycle.
politicians, and the reporters who cover them, regard
bloating state budgets as inevitable. But that's true
only if voters settle for the same-old, same-old.
New Political Laboratory. The
days are gone when Virginia politics were of local
interest only. Campaign themes and strategies
in the Old Dominion are increasingly visible on the
Never Enough. Even
the next two-year budget, at $74 billion, isn't big
enough to satisfy some legislators. Spending
discipline isn't likely to be restored as long as
Republicans are divided.
Politics of Seeming to Care
politicians pander to the populace, telling them what
they want to hear, not what they need to hear. In this
year's transportation debt, Virginia's lawmakers are no
Have a Televised Debate
can't trust the media to fairly characterize the
transportation debate. The best alternative may be a
three-way debate between the major contenders.
for Genuine Leadership.
taxes is not a serious transportation policy -- it's a
substitute for the creative thinking that the General
Assembly desperately needs to engage in.
of Francis Nicholson. Like
the power-hungry royal governor of old, Gov. Tim Kaine
seems willing to misuse the powers of his office. But
his budget brinksmanship could backfire.
Grandiose Plan. Apparently,
$120 million to renovate the state Capitol complex
is not enough. The state Senate wants to spend
another $400 million.
Don't Give a Rip".
pundits are blaming Bill Howell for Virginia's budget
impasse. But John Chichester is the one who's repeatedly
used the threat of a government shut down to get his
in the Axis of Taxes.
Kaine has split with the state Senate over increasing
the gas tax. That gives the House of Delegates a chance
to seize the initiative in the taxes-and-transportation
reason the House of Delegates is holding firm in the
budget debate this year is that House Speaker Bill
Howell is more assertive, even combative, than ever
Kaine has broken three important promises in a mere
three months: First transportation taxes, then land use
reform, and now the marriage amendment.
as National Religion. Contemporary
Americans worship democracy and majority rule. They
forget that the United States also is a
republic, which imposes checks and balances against
the tyranny of the mob.
Have I Heard This Before? Tim
Kaine says his $1 billion tax increase will help relieve
traffic congestion. Sounds uncannily similar to claims
made in 1986.
Made, Promises Broken. Gov.
Kaine and his allies are willing to do anything to
push tax increases through the General Assembly --
even if it means eroding the integrity of the
Sound Opinion. General
Bob McDonnell was right: Tim Kaine did exceed his
authority when conferring protected status upon sexual
orientation throughout state government.
state Senate is enacting spending programs
predicated on taxes that haven't been passed yet.
Will Chichester & Co. get their way again by
threatening another government shut-down?
up for Property Rights.
House of Delegates has passed legislation that will
protect property owners from unjust takings.
Unfortunately, the Senate's version of the bill
could do more harm than good.
usual suspects are pushing hard for another tax
increase this year, but their position is weaker
than it was two years ago.
Plan Doesn't Cut It. Tim
Kaine's transportation plan will cost more money -
but it won't work.
Education Policy. The
problem with Virginia schools isn't a lack of money
-- it's the rigid, bureaucratic policies that
dictate how the money is being spent.
Not the Only Solution. State-funded
highway and rail projects are not the only ways to
address traffic congestion in Virginia. It's time to
tap the creativity of the private sector.
Education Policy. The
problem with Virginia schools isn't a lack of money
-- it's the rigid, bureaucratic policies that
dictate how the money is being spent.
Mark Warner. Mark
Warner left office with many positive accomplishments,
as reflected in his popularity ratings. But let us not
forget, he also violated campaign pledges and the state
and environmental activists have one thing in common: a
willingness to use government power to affect land use.
Consumers are the losers.
Pricing Approach to Growth.
in Virginia is inevitable but sprawl is not. The key is
not more government control but less -- in particular,
an end to transportation subsidies.
Last, a Debate on Sprawl. Inefficient
patterns of development contribute to pollution, traffic
congestion and local fiscal stress. With
the election of Tim Kaine, suburban sprawl has
finally become a statewide issue.
Better Way to Grow. Suburban
sprawl is the product of government subsidies. A free
market approach to development would be far more
Must Look Forward
the reasons why Jerry Kilgore lost the election won't
get a Republican elected in 2009. Virginia's GOP needs
to figure out what it stands for.
Republican Policy Agenda
GOP agenda needs to start with asserting control over
state spending, otherwise the low-tax mantra has no
his principles on abortion and capital punishment may
have helped Tim Kaine win the election, but he's lost
any claim to moral authority.
Billion Ain't Chump Change.
say the state revenue surplus is no big deal -- only
$3.3 cents on the dollar. It's exactly that kind
of attitude that has let spending run out of control.
crucial issue facing Virginia is how to dispose of $2
billion in surplus revenues that will be baked into the
2006 budget. It should be treated as a windfall,
not a permanent increase in revenue.
Next Homework Assignment.
the state Constitution and write a paper explaining
why the General Assembly cannot obligate future
legislatures to spending hikes.
the Pea. Virginia
has a sad history of politicians who tell voters they
oppose taxes then break their promise once elected. Will
November 2005 bring us more of the same?
We Go Again. The
state budget is brimming with surplus revenues, but
legislators are sowing the seeds of Virginia's next
fiscal crisis by embracing new, long-term spending
Sharpens the Transportation Debate.
Baliles has proposed a bold plan to increase
transportation funding. Trouble is, it would just inject
more money into the same failed transportation policies
of the past.
his bid for the U.S. presidency, Mark Warner made a
serious error in ruling out a 2006 run against
Was Kaine Thinking?
agreeing to debate Russ Potts, Tim Kaine is taking a
huge risk. Potts could well drain more votes from
Kaine than Jerry Kilgore.
Credibility Gap. Mark
Warner bamboozled voters twice regarding his
intention to raise taxes. Now he wants people to
trust him as he negotiates $3 billion in VITA
Kaine and Jerry Kilgore are vying to see who can promise
the most new spending for education. It's more of the
same policy that's been failing us for the past 50
Dog-Whistle Campaigning. There
is no fudging in the abortion debate. Either
Virginia's gubernatorial candidates clarify their
positions or they risk losing big chunks of the
Search of a Budget Strategy.
state's swelling budget surplus should embarrass
Gov. Warner, but it doesn't. He says we need it to
pay for Virginia's bottomless needs. In other words,
spending is out of control.
will dominate next year's General Assembly session,
yet the press treatment of the issue goes no deeper
than campaign platitudes and media handouts.
over U.S. Supreme Court appointments could influence
Virginia elections this year by elevating the
visibility social issues.
Versus Taxes. Tolls
beat taxes as a funding mechanism for transportation
projects because those with money at risk have
reason to make realistic assumptions about costs
Budget Impasse in 2006?
shutdowns are the nuclear option of state politics.
Virginia could be heading for just such a calamity
over transportation taxes.
v. the Constitution. The
Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain has
galvanized the property rights movement in Virginia.
Even the politicians are hopping aboard.
Warner counsels rapprochement with Republicans in
Virginia. But the Democrats' new party chair has
swing into attack mode.
June Republican primaries were cast as a referendum
on last year's tax hike. Taxes were on the mind of
voters, but so were other issues.
Filibuster Fracas. In
the showdown over judicial appointments, John Warner
opted for comity in the Senate. George Allen stood for
principle: The majority should prevail.
Warner Problem. Mark
Warner has accomplished so much of the Democrats'
roads-and-schools agenda that he hasn't left Tim
Kaine much room to maneuver.
spenders list endless "unmet needs" to
justify tax hikes. Their foes must show how low
taxes meet laudable goals, too, like spurring economic
growth and protecting household income.
Succeeds in Politics. Virginia’s
Republican Party doesn’t need unity or discipline
– it needs leadership and vision. Without those
traits, the GOP could go the way of the British
freedom of people to associate freely--and exclude
others--is fundamental to liberty. State government
has no business telling the Virginia GOP who can
vote in its primaries.
aren't the only ones watching the Kaine-Kilgore
match-up. The outcome of that race will shape the
prospects of 2008 presidential prospects George
Allen and Mark Warner.
new law giving public universities more autonomy is
not bad policy, but it fails to address the
underlying problem with higher ed in Virginia: the
relentless increase in spending.
Tax or Not to Tax.
defends earlier columns advocating a greater
private-sector role in addressing Virginia's
Kaine hasn't figured out what kind of image he wants
to project in his gubernatorial race. Recent
comments show two contending personalities.
The last thing Virginia needs is to crank up
spending on a failed transportation system. It's
time to turn entrepreneurs loose to devise
28: Time for
a Serious Debate. Enough with the sound
bites and talking points! Virginia candidates for
higher office must outline their vision of what it
takes to make the Commonwealth competitive in a
House Divided. Virginia
is a Republican-leaning state, but that may not
count for much with GOP legislators as deeply
divided as they are.
Commonwealth's auto-centric transportation policies
have made Virginians increasingly vulnerable to
swings in the price of oil and events in the Middle
We Could Arrange a Trade? Virginia's
John Chichester wants to raise taxes. North
Carolina's Marc Basnight prefers to cut spending.
Who would you want on your team?
the Senate Really Operates. Richard
Saslaw and Russell Potts revealed the true
temperament of the state Senate by uttering in
public opinions normally expressed behind closed
from Maryland. If
you're used to thinking of our northern neighbor as
a land of liberalism, you might want to reconsider.
While Virginians talk of raising taxes--
again--guess who's been cutting them?
Public-Private Trap. Virginia
tried funding transportation projects through
"public-private partnerships" in the 19th
century. Advocates of that approach today might
think twice if they knew their history.
Ill Considered Plan. Steve
Baril's proposal to crank up borrowing and spending to
build more roads would saddle
Virginians with untold debt and do nothing to
improve traffic congestion.
31: Capitol Schlock.
architectural standards of Virginia's capital area
have gone downhill ever since Thomas Jefferson
designed the state capitol. It's time to give the
public more involved in planning.
Still Don't Get It. The
transportation plans proposed by Gov. Warner and
Speaker Howell differ in details but share a common
delusion: that it's possible to build our way out of
Burgers and Fries Diet. Virginia's
transportation system suffers from hardening of the
arteries. Our lawmakers' answer: Big Macs and extra
large french fries.
for Higher Ed. As
an alternative to subsidizing public universities,
Virginia should consider subsidizing student
4: Wake Up
Call for Virginia GOP. Paula Miller's
victory in last month's special Congressional
election demonstrated Democratic Party unity and
organizational strength. Republicans better get
their act together.
or Leadership? Virginia
has plenty of risk-averse leaders willing to peddle
more-of-the-same solutions, but very few courageous
articulate the hard truths or push for innovative solutions.
Bad Idea that Just Won't Die.
Once again we're hearing that Virginia needs
two-term governors to carry out long-term reforms.
But sound ideas don't require a cult of personality
to be put into effect.
Shapes His Campaign.
may be a red state in presidential politics but
Democrats are still competitive at the state level.
Tim Kaine is getting out front on visible issues of
concern to Virginians.
Bill Is Coming Due. Government
policy over the decades has fostered an
auto-dependent transportation system. Virginia can't
afford to pump more money into that system without
Defense of A
four years we hear the cry to abolish the electoral
college. It's worth remembering why Virginia's founding
fathers adopted it in the first place.
of the "structural budget deficit" cited
to justify $750 million in higher taxes, it looks
like the state might have a structural budget surplus.
The failure of Virginia's political class is
a Grip on State Spending. Gov.
Warner has yet to fulfill his promise to streamline
wasteful spending in state government. He could
start with his own office.
that Man Some Economics!
Bobby Scott trashes President Bush's economic
policies, but he shows no understanding of the
factors driving economic growth and budget deficits.
Little GOP, Don't You Cry.
Demos gonna sing you a lullaby... The "leak" that the Kerry campaign has
written off Virginia may be meant to put Republicans
Die... Or Maybe Catch Some Extra ZZZs. High
voter turn-out doesn't help democracy if it's
greased by fraud or reflects the ill-informed
passions of the mob.
Conservatives Win and Lose. Conservatives
are right to push an anti-tax agenda for Virginia. But
it's a mistake to appear negative and vindictive.
on the Hog. Flush
with higher taxes and a growing economy, the Warner
administration is expanding state government again.
Does Virginia really need a secretary and a
commissioner of agriculture?
20: The Gay Agenda.
There is a gay agenda, and the tactics used to
advance it have become as hateful as the attitudes
of the alleged bigots that gay activists oppose.
at the Switch? The
GOP may not think that Virginia is in play in this
year's presidential election, but a big push for Kerry
could help Mark Warner if (when) he challenges
George Allen in 2006.
Over the Line. The
gay activist who "outed" Congressman Ed
Schrock engages in political extortion. Is there no
limit to the politics of personal destruction?
of a Loaf... is
better than none. Gov. Warner's one-time, $28
million tax give-back is welcome, even though it's
increasingly evident that his $1.5 billion-per
biennium increase was never called for.
Far We've Fallen. Americans
are losing their self reliance. Just compare the
life of hardworking, 102-year-old "Granny"
Grubb with Medicaid's latest: free stomach stapling
for the obese.
the People. Here's
a novel idea. Maybe politicians should tell people
what they really believe and let voters
choose the candidates whose views most reflect their
VEA Shows its Hand. The
teachers union wants it all: $1.5 million per
biennium from tax hikes plus the $1 billion a
year Gov. Warner claims he can save through greater
have failed to wield their budgetary powers to
control the size of state government. It's time for
the General Assembly to exercise more
Need a Bold Agenda. The
next House election will likely be a referendum on
taxes. Gov. Warner and the Democrats will speak with
a unified voice. Will the Republicans?
Gays Discriminate, Too. Gays
want the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. But
you don't hear them arguing to sanctify polygamy,
incest or pedophilia.
Phony Car Tax "Cap". Moody's
may have been impressed when lawmakers capped car tax
reimbursements at $950 million forever, but there's
nothing to stop a future legislature from changing
Republic of Virginia.
passing the $1.4 billion tax hike, Virginia's
lawmakers started the long march down the road toward socialism
path to higher taxes and socialism begins by
co-opting the meaning of words. Look how politicians
today equate the word "invest" with higher
What Constitution? Yes,
Virginia does have a state constitution, though you
wouldn't know it from the actions of the General
Wars: Phase 2. With
tax revenues gushing -- even before tax hikes kick
in -- the pressure to cut state spending will
relent. The House of Delegates must keep the heat on
the Warner administration.
the Republicans Regroup? Ridden
with dissension after the 2004 budget debate,
Republican legislators may be licking their
self-inflicted wounds for a long time.
they want higher taxes for roads -- subsidies
for an inefficient transportation system that has
become too expensive to support.
to the Shearing. The
muttonheads in the House of Delegates, bleating in
protest every step of the way, are getting fleeced
on the tax issue.
covering the dueling press releases in the battle
over the budget, the state press corps has
totally missed some big stories.
the Debate. Tax
advocates framed the budget debate as about funding
schools and roads -- issues that people care about.
Anti-tax forces never offered an alternative.
Defends Column, Scolds
to Come Clean. Mark
Warner wants to take credit for streamlining state
government -- he just doesn't want to share the
savings with taxpayers.
Chichester and other elected officials need to be
held accountable for breaking their promises not to
leaders have forgotten the principles of limited
government that propelled them to power in the
General Assembly. We may be witnessing the twilight
of their rule.
Side is That Guy On? U.S.
Sen. John Warner undercut the Republican Party --
again -- with remarks last week that Gov. Mark
Warner construed as endorsing his tax-hike plans.
Try Spending Reform. Tax
hike zealots argue that the state has exhausted
budget-cutting opportunities. That's just plain
wrong. Virginia could save hundreds of millions of
dollars with little pain.
19: Spending Commitments?
General Assembly is not obligated to sustain
programs funded by previous legislatures, much less increase
spending. Lawmakers need to ask tough questions
before passing a budget.
rash ploy of submitting a budget with tax-hike
assumptions built in threatens to undermine the
tried-and-tested balance of power between
Virginia's governor and legislature.
the Analysis? In
pushing a $500 million-a-year tax hike, Mark Warner
appears to assume that higher taxes will not slow
the state's economic growth. But it's hard to
know: He offers no numbers to go by.
a Fast One. The
best parts of Gov. Warner's tax plan are measures
that the Republican General Assembly have already
approved. Most of the rest is questionable.
of Hiding. Now
we know why Governor Warner didn't want to talk
about taxes before the November elections: He's just
proposed one of the biggest tax hikes in Virginia
1: Shoot 'em and Bury
Kilgore and Paul Goldman have floated some bad ideas
regarding debt and taxes. Their proposals should be
quickly and expeditiously disposed of.
17: Wait-and-See Warner.
Warner could have turned the 2004 election into a
referendum on his tax proposals. But he didn't want
to take the risk. Now he will pay the political
price of his caution.
the High Ground. Proponents
of higher taxes were too scared to take their case to the
voters this fall. House Speaker Howell, who has declared his opposition
forthrightly, occupies the high terrain.
Row to Hoe. Don't
expect much in the way of tax reform. The special
interests are in conflict and voters don't trust
legislators in Richmond to keep their promises.
Gets It Wrong Again. Virginians
distrust government, the former governor says,
because agencies have been starved of funds -- in
other words because Virginians aren't taxed
at the Edges.
rural strategy helped get him elected governor, but "tax
reform" that favors rural communities may
alienate Northern Virginia.
Scandal That Won't Die. It's
looking like Republican leadership made Ed
Matricardi the fall guy in the eavesdropping
scandal. The GOP still needs to come clean.
Republicans for the run-up in state and local
indebtedness smacks of Democratic demagoguery.
There's plenty of blame to go around.
Moody’s. Some say Virginia’s budget outlook
is improving. But with the state on the Moody’s
watch list, Gov. Warner should be applauded for his
Blast from 'Bama. Alabama
voters just voted down a big tax increase. What is it
about "no tax hikes" that Virginia
politicians don't understand?
in Control Around Here? Some
say that the cost of the state budget is driven by
factors beyond the state's control, ergo, taxes must
be raised. Don't believe it.
to a Courthouse Near You... Enjoying
Alabama's flap over the Ten Commandments? Just wait
until someone tries to expunge God from Virginia's
Aim, Shoot Foot!
gives with the Virginia business leadership's
support for higher taxes? Taxes kill jobs. And the
state hasn't begun to exhaust cost-cutting
Man with No Shame.
Chichester ducked the tax issue during his
re-nomination fight, but his recent remarks will
make the "t" word a hot topic in the 2003 General Assembly
maintain their electoral majority in the South,
Republicans must maintain clear differences with
Democrats on taxes, guns and traditional
Quicksand of Tax Reform.
an appropriate tax mix for Virginia's localities is
no easy matter. Legislators should approach the
challenge of restructuring local government taxes
Cheers for Partisanship.
a "bipartisan" agreement on tax
restructuring is just a ploy to keep the issue away
from the voters. We should stake out partisan
positions -- and then let the voters decide.
us the Plan.
Warner won't tip his hand on plans for restructuring
the tax code. Maybe that's because he wants to hide
from voters how he's breaking his campaign pledge not
to increase taxes.
About SOQs. Despite
Democrats' claims, there is no state constitutional
mandate to fully fund educational "standards of
Taxes and Secret Meetings. Republicans
should beware Gov. Warner's beguiling rhetoric about
finding "common ground" on tax reform.
They might find themselves out-maneuvered.
Happened to Tax Reform?
his accomplishments so far this year are any indication,
Gov. Warner may go down in history as the
an End to Open Primaries.
Warner helped defeat conservative General Assembly
candidates by encouraging cross-over voting by
Democrats -- reciprocating previous GOP tactics. The
practice needs to end.
But Not Defeated.
challengers to powerful GOP incumbents may have been
defeated in last week's primaries, but they aren't
Primary Test for Business Elites.
business leaders, advocates of big government in
Virginia, are pouring resources into protecting
their favorite incumbents against challenges by the
GOP rank and file.
election year, political consultants counsel
politicians to play to the middle. But what wins
elections is voter turnout spurred by sharp,
Kilgore is suffering repercussions from his fling
with pro-abortion forces. His ruling on the
"morning after" pill may jeopardize his
standing among pro-life Republicans.
subdivisions of the state are issuing debt with
informal assurances that, if needed, the state will
back them up with tax revenues. This reckless
fiscal practice could explode.
12: Integrity Schmegrity
once nurtured its reputation for the integrity
of its finances and debt. No longer. Legislators
have reneged on solemn promises to voters and bond
5: Government of the Elite,
By the Elite
. A healthy electoral
system gives voters choices.
gerrymandered districts stifle political competition
and engender electoral apathy.
Better Way to Finance Higher
time to wean colleges from state subsidies and make
them more responsive to the marketplace.
other states, Virginia is addicted to revenues from
the tobacco settlement. That gives the Commonwealth
a stake in the health of cigarette manufacturers.
Progress for Minorities.
symbolic issues like cross burnings distract
African-Americans from focusing on issues, like K-12
education, that can really make a difference in
Warner Flip-Flop. The
governor is critical -- after the fact -- of
Virginia Tech's new, race-neutral admissions policy.
Why was he silent before, when decisions were being
Governor Needs a Compass. After
more than a year in office, Gov. Warner has left the
public guessing what his guiding principles are --
or if he even has any.
Old Right's Quandary. "Old
Right" conservatives are suspicious of war,
which tends to expand government power. But there's
no way for America to isolate itself from terrorism
and weapons of mass destruction.
want to use tax "restructuring" as a way
to raise revenue. Republicans should go to the
voters this fall promising to make it a way to reduce
the tax burden.
Down the Budget Debate. It
would be a mistake for Gov. Warner to veto the
entire budget submitted by the General Assembly. He
could accomplish many of his
goals through the judicious use of the line-item
week, Gov. Warner backtracked on a campaign pledge
not to raise taxes. Politicians, it seems, have lost
all respect for the voters.
Class Envy. Democrats
are demagoguing a proposed repeal of the Virginia
estate tax. It's a losing strategy: Virginians don't
have a problem with people passing along their
the Voters. The
state constitution requires voter approval of
state-backed bonds. Yet every year legislators come
back with some new scheme to bypass the public.
Democrats' Dilemma. With
General Assembly elections looming this fall,
Virginia Democrats find themselves with few strong
issues to campaign on.
Wrath of the Brahmins. The
ruling caste in the General Assembly put upstart
Senator Ken Cuccinelli in his place. But their
arrogance does not play well with the public.
Trust Deficit. Some
of Virginia's elected officials didn't get the
message in November: Voters don't trust tax-and-borrow schemes hatched behind the scenes.
Core Functions. There's
a simple criteria for deciding if a government
program is essential: What adverse consequences
would occur if the state shut it down?
13: Fine-Tuning the Constitution.
should re-think the way they elect lieutenant
governors -- but the one-term limit on electing
governors works just fine.
the GOP Agenda? Republicans are likely to
get inundated with legislative trivia if they
don't define their priorities. Then Gov. Warner
and the Democrats will set the tone for the
politicians assume the state has only two choices
to balance the budget: raise taxes or cut
programs. They ignore the option of changing the
way government does business.
Power of Symbols. Republicans appropriate
state funds to paint Vance Wilkins' portrait. The
governor cuts the traditional Capitol Christmas
tree. Which one looks to you like they're serious
about dealing with the budget?
Anybody Want to Lead? Neither
the Republicans nor Democrats in Virginia offer a
compelling vision for the future.
Look Over There! You can't blame
Mark Warner for distracting voters with talk about
two-term governors. But the idea is a bad one, and
we've got more immediate problems to worry about.
and Cynical. Voters
have every reason to be disenchanted with
political parties that articulate no consistent
principles or agendas.
Ahead on Transportation. Deprived
of new tax revenues, government should invite the
private sector to help address Virginia's
defeat of the sales tax referenda in Northern
Virginia and Hampton Roads could mean a number of
things. It may be too early to draw firm
of the Hampton Roads sales tax referendum swear the revenues
will be used for the transportation projects they say it will.
But there's no constitutional basis for such a claim.
for a Serious Budget Debate. With
painful budget cuts still to be made, Virginia faces an
opportunity to shape state government for years to come.
Warner is dealing forthrightly with a budget crisis he didn't
create. Next, he needs to address the underlying cause: bad
Good As Gold? North
Carolina lost its AAA bond rating. If Virginia isn't careful, it
could suffer the same fate.
Crosses the Line. Contrary
to what the governor says, hiking the sales tax is
not the only option for dealing with traffic
Confederate Flag Again. Nearly
140 years after the Civil War, the old Stars and
Bars still inflames passions. But that's no reason
to ban it from the political realm.
for Candor from Politicians.
The General Assembly
giveth, and the General Assembly taketh away.
Voters should be more skeptical of politicians'
a Basic Freedom. Freedom of religion
doesn't mean much if you can't educate your
children in a manner consistent with your values.
Virginians must preserve their private-school and
looming budget deficit puts the liberal Lieutenant
Governor in a ticklish position as he maneuvers
for the showdown with Jerry Kilgore in 2005.
Clash of Philosophies.
budget crisis creates a pivotal choice for
Virginia. Do we preserve government programs -- or
our tradition of low taxes?
Time for a Real Budget Fix
blame game won’t solve Virginia’s budget mess.
Neither will one-time budget cuts. It’s time to deal with underlying causes.