Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Bolling Report - Feb. 7, 2006

The Bolling Report: THE TRUE TEST OF BIPARTISAN LEADERSHIP Will Virginia have bipolar government for the next four years? I was visiting with a school group at the Capitol this week and one young student asked me this question. She was concerned by the fact that we have a Democrat Governor and a Republican Lieutenant Governor. She did not believe that a Governor of one party and a Lieutenant Governor of another party could possibly work together. So, will Virginia have bipolar government for the next four years? I sure hope not. On election night, and on numerous occasions since then, I have made clear that I want Governor Kaine to succeed. If the Governor succeeds Virginia succeeds, and that should be a goal we all share. I have made clear that when Governor Kaine governs consistent with the principles and values Virginians believe in, and consistent with the promises of his campaign, I will stand with him in that effort. I reiterate that promise today. However, should the Governor depart from these principles, values and promises I will play the part of the loyal opposition. The people of Virginia should expect no less. After all, this is one of the important checks and balances that our system of government provides. It is clear that there will be issues that Governor Kaine and I agree on, and there will be issues that we disagree on. Two important issues on which we disagree have already surfaced during this year’s session of the General Assembly. First, I disagree with the Governor that we must raise taxes to address Virginia’s transportation needs. While I agree that we need to dedicate significant additional resources to the Transportation Trust Fund on an ongoing basis, I believe there is a “better way” to secure these resources than imposing higher taxes on working Virginians and their families. Second, I disagree with the Governor’s opposition to a Constitutional Amendment to ban same sex marriages in Virginia. The Senate and the House of Delegates have both approved this Amendment by overwhelming margins and I support it fully. It is my hope that the Governor will sign this legislation and allow the people of Virginia to vote on this important issue this November. I was also disappointed by the Governor’s comments last week when he gave the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union Address. While the Governor talked a lot about promoting a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in America, he used the balance of his speech to launch a partisan attack on the President. It is one thing to talk about bipartisan cooperation - it is harder to actually demonstrate that important quality. Nonetheless, while the Governor and I disagree on these important issues, there are many issues on which we agree and there are many things that we can work on together for the good of Virginia. Last Thursday Governor Kaine and I held a joint press conference at the Capitol to announce a series of initiatives that we will work on together this year. In the areas of education, transportation, economic development, health care and much more, there are a number of issues on which the Governor and I agree. A summary of these initiatives is set forth below. Education * Support a budget amendment to begin the process of moving teacher pay to the national average and provide for regular professional evaluations of teachers to assure teacher competency. * Support the expansion of needs based financial aid and increases in Tuition Assistance Grants for students at our independent colleges and universities. Transportation * Support passage of a Constitutional Amendment to make certain that money intended for highway construction cannot be diverted to other government programs. * Support dedicating insurance premium taxes to the Transportation Trust Fund on an ongoing basis. * Support legislation to allow the transfer of development rights within a locality to protect the rights of property owners and encourage development near existing transportation, schools and public safety infrastructure. * Support legislation to make abusive drivers pay their share of road costs. * Support expanded use of the public/private transportation act to help pay for targeted road projects. Economic Development * Support putting into law the Economic Strike Force previously established by Executive order to help people in areas hit hard by job losses to get back on their feet and back to work. * Support creating the New College Institute in Martinsville. Health Care * Support legislation allowing small businesses to join together in order to obtain less expensive insurance for their employees. * Support developing a blueprint for developing an integrated, acute and long term care delivery system for elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients to help improve the quality of care and reduce Medicaid costs. Veterans * Support the Governor's budget amendment to provide operating funds to open the new Sitter-Barefoot Veterans Care Center. Property Taxes * Support legislation to require local governments to provide homeowners with additional information so they are aware of the impact of assessment increases and how to participate in the setting of tax rates by their local government. * Support legislation to enable local governments to provide a homestead exemption of up to 20% of the value of an owner occupied home from the real estate tax bill. While some may find it surprising that a Democrat Governor and Republican Lieutenant Governor can disagree on important issues like taxes and same sex marriage, and at the same time work together on a number of other important issues, it is important that we work together when we can. Most Virginians care little about political labels. They want leaders who will work together to improve the quality of their lives. We can do this by getting traffic moving again, providing the best possible educational opportunities for our children, keeping our neighborhoods safe from the threat of crime, making quality health care more available and affordable for more Virginians, and promoting responsible efforts to protect our important natural resources. I will continue to do my part to provide this kind of effective bipartisan leadership, while at the same time standing strong for the conservative principles and values I believe in. That is the true test of bipartisan leadership. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

10 Comments:

At 2/08/2006 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous Freddie said...

I'm uncomfortable with law enforcement being used as a revenue generating source. If the authorities believe that fines of a certain size are appropriate for a certain offence, so be it. Fines can punish and deter.

But if these fines are highly touted as a revenue source for a area that is short of revenue, then there is a strong incentive for the fines to be increased beyond what is appropriate for the offence.

 
At 2/08/2006 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous NOVA Scout said...

couldn't agree more, Freddie. The level of a penalty ought to be set with a view toward deterrence and severity of the offense. Once it becomes regarded as a revenue stream, the system of justice is distorted.

I once worked for a federal agency that delighted in reporting each year that it had collect $x million in penalties. The statute was, as a policy matter, as completely antiquated and wrong-headed kind of price-control system. It was impossible for the agency to candidly advise Congress on the policy weaknesses whiel at the same time crowing about how much it was putting into the Treasury as a result of enforcement actions.

 
At 2/08/2006 11:19:00 AM, Blogger too conservative said...

Support passage of a Constitutional Amendment to make certain that money intended for highway construction cannot be diverted to other government programs.

-theres a new tune

 
At 2/08/2006 11:37:00 AM, Anonymous Freddie said...

Support passage of a Constitutional Amendment to make certain that money intended for highway construction cannot be diverted to other government programs.

- It's an old tune, but it has not been done yet and there are plenty of downstate members in the General Assembly who don't want this to happen. It's important to constantly highlight this, or it will not get done.

 
At 2/08/2006 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

This is actually something that the Federal Gov't already does at that level. Amazing. A trust fund that truly is firewalled and dedicated for a specific purpose. This is one instance where the Feds can actually teach VA something.

 
At 2/08/2006 03:19:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

For once, I agree with nova scout (and freddie): law enforcement as a revenue source is perverse. One of the most frequent abuses is in property seizure law, used to take property used in a criminal activity even when the criminal himself or herself is not prosecuted. The burden of proof is much lower and hence, results in many abuses.

 
At 2/08/2006 08:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we can all work for the common goal of ensuring the good of the people of Virginia - I am less than impressed with Bolling's catering to Kaine. All he is doing is continuing to give credibility to an Administration who said one thing to get elected and has continually demonstrated that they will advance the opposite.

 
At 2/08/2006 09:53:00 PM, Anonymous David said...

I'm afraid that the Lt. Governor has been dishonest. Governor Kaine does not oppose a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage; his position has always been support of such an amendment, and allowing the voters to decide.

He opposes the current amendment because 1) it goes far beyond defining marriage and would prohibit legal recognition of a large and undefined category of other relationships between unmarried people; and 2) the language that would appear on the ballot is misleading, and could result in unwitting voters endorsing something that they don't actually support. The ballot language being proposed is an affront to democracy, and the Governor is correct to speak out against it.

 
At 2/09/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Anon 8:04 --- I'm all for partisanship (as a matter of political honesty and ethics), but not gratuitous partisanship. When Tim Kaine stumbles unwittingly into the right position, he should have the support of GOP elected officials; when he's wrong (which I expect more frequently), he should expect unremitting opposition.

And thanks for the talking points, David.

 
At 2/09/2006 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Not Paul Nardo said...

In response to David - it is the exact same language that was passed last year that Kaine said he supported - now that he has been elected, it is too broad. What is too broad is Kaine's desire to be all things to all people - rather than standing up for principle. It may not be the same principles that I share - but you can respect someone for standing up for what they believe.

 

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