Hot air from the ‘Pubs

Gov. Tim Kaine is pushing an increase on the state tax on cigarette sales. You’d think he was puttiing a surcharge on the air we breathe and the water we drink from listening to the Republicans.

“When I was an economics major at the University of Virginia, I learned you cannot tax your way out of a recession. While my professors explained it in a much more erudite way, it is most simply stated as follows: Most of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending. And when government makes people pay higher taxes, they have less money. With less money, they buy less, and when they buy less, recessions get worse,” Fairfax Republican State Del. Dave Albo in his House GOP response to the governor’s State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.

To reiterate, Kaine has proposed an increase on the cigarette tax, a 30-cents-a-pack increase. And in so doing, he has earned the enmity of the small segment of the population that smokes, as you might expect. But that’s it as far as tax policy.

“Do we want to impose new taxes on some Virginians and not others as the administration has proposed tonight? Or do we want government as a whole to learn to live within its means, just like working families?” Lynchburg Republican State Sen. Steve Newman said in his Senate GOP response to the governor from last night.

Starting to notice a pattern here?

“Gov. Kaine’s speech about the budget shortfalls facing Virginia was heavy on specific problems, but light on workable solutions. Effectively bringing back parole and raising taxes will only hurt Virginia businesses, employees and taxpayers,” said NoVa State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, a hard-right conservative who put out a statement on Kaine’s address mainly because he’s running for the GOP attorney-general nomination this year.

He references “bringing back parole” in a way that suggests that Kaine wants to give Willie Horton another shot at a furlough murder spree. Instead, what Kaine is proposing is setting conditions wherein prison wardens can recommend for release nonviolent offenders 90 days before their sentences come up. Which is not exactly making drug dealers and gang members eligible for early release, as Albo disingenuously claimed on TV last night.

The firebreathers seem to be doing what they can to make it hard for presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell to try to soften his image for November. McDonnell continued on that line in his response to the Kaine address. “The key to success will be setting aside partisanship,” McDonnell said in a statement released to the media after the speech. “This is not a time for political posturing; it is a time for governing. I encourage the governor and the General Assembly to work across the aisle to balance Virginia’s budget. I look forward to assisting the legislature in making its tough decisions.”

A nice sentiment there, but the blatant misrepresentations of McDonnell’s colleagues under that ever-shrinking Republican tent I think speak a much different truth from that side of the aisle.


– Column by Chris Graham

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