A Backroom Deal?

by Phillip Rodokanakis

Jerry Kilgore hasn’t come out in favor of higher taxes, but he refuses to sign an anti-tax pledge. A circumstantial case can be made that he’s cut a deal with the pro-tax wing of the GOP.

State Sen. John Chichester, R-Fredericksburg, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is on the warpath for higher taxes. Without wasting any time or taking a breather from the massive tax increase he imposed on Virginia taxpayers last year, Chichester already is talking about increasing taxes again in 2006. More


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  1. Will Vehrs Avatar

    By all means, if Kilgore doesn’t sign the requisite pledges, Republicans should stay home on election day, elect Kaine, then let Kaine and Chichester raise taxes to their heart’s content. There will be great satisfaction in saying “Told you so.” If the bottom doesn’t drop out, as anti-tax folks predict, Democrats will retake the General Assembly by 2009.

    The “big tent” in Virginia is getting to be a tattered poncho.

  2. Let us not forget that Wilder (always principled) has recently backed off of his opposition to the tax increase. Now that he’s Mayor of Richmond, he’s all about the tax increase! I’m currently looking for quotes to back this up, when I find them I’ll get back to you.

  3. Barnie Day Avatar

    Only a dope would sign a ‘no-tax’ pledge, not knowing the future. Are there any scenarios under which you would release someone from such a pledge? How about war? Earthquake? Catastrophic viral outbreak? Terrorist attack? If there is any scenario under which you would release such a pledge, the pledge is meaningless. I would much rather see someone pledge to read the constitution, or pledge to refrain from humiliating acts of stupidity.

  4. BARNIESOLOGY: Dopey? The “no-tax” pledge is meaningless? Refraining from humiliating acts of stupidity?

    Don’t you remember, Blogbuddy code of conduct? Jim Bacon’s second rule of Blogging: “Participants must always address one another with civility.”

    No-tax pledge signers are reasonable people. The Blue Dog signed the pledge and I’ll do it again.

    In essence, a pledge is a solemn promise …

    When Gov. Warner was seeking election to the state’s highest office in 2001, he promised not raise taxes. Two years later, Gov. Mark Warner officially broke his solemn campaign promise not to raise Virginia’s taxes.

    Did Mr. Warner have an exception in order to break his promise to Virginia citizens, such as wars or depressions or natural disasters?

    No siree Barnie! Gov. Mark Warner raised taxes by 1.5 billion with a 2 billion dollar surplus.

    Publishing that humiliating act of stupidity will not look good on the DPVA brochures…

    NOTE: The DEMS did it for the special interests money, plain and simple. The bureaucrats “Gluteus Maximus Spendus” — and lobbyists “Taximaximus Nauseous Idiotus” — run that town because they control the money.

    Look at the contributions — they’re in control the electoral process in the Commonwealth.

    Obviously, Governor Mark Warner is not leading based upon his fiscally conservative Democratic principles. And might I inquire, where in the heck is the world’s greatest political party these days? They have abandoned the arena of ideas for partisan scraps from the electoral table, and are legislating at the expense of taxpayers. And have left the governing to one political party, which is bad for democracy…

    If Gov. Mark Warner stood in front of the Looking Glass long enough, he might see California’s ex-Gov. Gray Davis’ reflection staring back at him. He might wake up and learn something as well.

    In a Warnerland they lie,
    Dreaming as the days go by,
    Dreaming as the summers die;
    Ever drifting down the stream –
    Lingering in the golden gleam-
    Life, what is it but a dream?

    Recently, the Blue Dog received a note for a maverick GOP House member, he wrote: “It is so sad to see the DEMS absolutely clueless on the ’05 House floor as to what to do when big issues arise. All they do is placate the base and sit there looking defeated. Frank hall is driving them over the cliff.”

    In case you missed it. Bacon Rebellion’s Droopy Drawers blogtroversial when Delegate Frank Hall and thirteen dopey DEMS voted for that silly underwear legislation?

    For your information: “The pledge is a one-page statement promising never to vote to increase marginal tax rates and never to eliminate tax loopholes without simultaneously supporting equivalent reductions in marginal tax rates.”

    “The Americans for Tax Reform has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, President George W. Bush, 42 U.S. senators, and 217 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (eighteen of whom represent Florida) have signed the Pledge. Additionally, eight Governors and over 1,190 state legislators have signed the Pledge as well.”

    http://www.atr.org/nationalpledge/

  5. Barnie Day Avatar

    The Blue Dog signed? “Your Honor,
    the state rests.”

    Earth to Blue Dog: Virginia Governors can’t raise taxes, nor cut them. See: ‘Legislature, prerogatives thereof.’

    I mean no offense, Blue Dog, but ‘no tax’ pledges are cheap theatrics. The wonder is that they’re not peddled out of the back of a medicine wagon.

    And your correspondence on the Dems’ demeanor when the ‘big issues’ come up? What big issues? Name one that has been addressed and resolved. Transportation? Education? The environment? Tax or tort reform? The problem so many of these folks have now is one of perspective. To a pygmy I suppose everything looks big.

  6. Mattaponi Avatar

    There is no simple formula that adequately encompasses the obligations of conscientious government officials toward sound fiscal management of local, state or federal government. The sincere pols know it and don’t sign bumper sticker pledges. The opportunists, ignoramuses and charlatans will sign them in a minute and go about their merry way, confident that they have just garnered a bloc of votes from people whose intentions are good, but who have forfeited their reasoning to a slogan. How many legislators (Virginia or elsewhere) have signed the pledge and then merrily pass mandates on local government that end up costing public monies? How many will cut state programs without regard to local impacts, even when these cuts put strains on local budgets. I’m as militant as the next guy about cutting taxes wherever we can, but I would never vote for anyone who signed the so-called “pledge.” If Kilgore hasn’t signed as a matter of principle, I’m pleasantly surprised. Other than that, I haven’t perceived him to be a rock of good judgment breasting the tides of popular gimcrackery.

  7. Horsefeathers! Campaign promises are pledges …

    Matter of fact, many of Governor Mark Warner’s victories come when he is small, and being LARGE is often a great hindrance.

    “Soon his eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: He opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words “EAT ME” were beautifully marked in currants. “Well, I’ll eat it,” said Mark Warner, “and if it makes taxes grow larger, I can spend more on education; and if it makes the car tax grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the U.S. Senate, and I don’t care which happens!”

    http://augustafreepress.weblogger.com/stories/storyReader$16635

    Barnie, we all know Mark Warner is yo’ homey, homeslice, partner, buddy and the genuine cool one, BUT … please stop sniffing Mark Warner’s PAC glue — That was Armstrong Williams downfall.

    Granted, Warner can’t raise taxes as Governor, but surely the DEMS can raise contributions due to their complicity with last year’s budget, but how expensive will it be when they have to explain who lead them over the billion dollar tax surplus cliff …

    The Blue Dog is astounded that Virginia’s politicians — DEMS & PUBS — are no longer preaching fiscal conservatism – and are willing to change little if anything at all; and instead are preaching a hobgoblin mix of not financing the needs of the state’s population, but lining the political in-crowd’s silk pockets.

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary

    How does your One VA PAC grow?

    With lies I see, from Mark and thee

    And pro-tax politicians all of a row.

    Next question?

  8. Barnie Day Avatar

    Thanks, Mattaponi. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Welcome. Careful of the Lilliputians! They’re family!

  9. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Mattaponi said: “If Kilgore hasn’t signed as a matter of principle, I’m pleasantly surprised”

    Will the real Jerry Kilgore please stand up?

    Was it the principled AG candidate Jerry Kilgore who signed the ATR pledge or the principled Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore who is refusing to sign the pledge?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  10. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    My recent column
    (“A Backroom Deal?”)
    has stirred a hornet’s nest. The emails were flying round-and round through cyberspace in the wee hours of this morning. I was copied on some of them, although I suspect that there were a lot more I did not receive.

    From the Kilgore camp, we heard from Carrie Cantrell who said that Kilgore had signed the ATR pledge when he ran for Attorney General and is bound by it. We were also given a very warm-and-fuzzy reassurance that “Jerry Kilgore is philosophically opposed to tax increases as a matter of principle and will remain so.”

    This morning the American’s for Tax Reform Chief of Staff, Damon Ansell, entered the fray. Mr. Ansell broke the Gordian email knot over the pledge and informed us that Jerry Kilgore has NOT signed the pledge as a gubernatorial candidate, even though the ATR has asked him to sign it repeatedly.

    My entire reputation as an Op-Ed columnist over the last 24 hours seemed to rest on whether Jerry Kilgore had signed the ATR pledge or not. For the time being at least, my reputation has been redeemed by ATR—although I’m certain that in certain quarters my reputation remains beyond any hope of redemption…

  11. Barnie Day Avatar

    Phil, your reputation is good by me. Good going on the hornets’ nest. I’ll send a brick over if you need one. Let me know.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Whether one agrees with Barnie Day that a no tax pledge is a bad thing, or agrees with George Bush, George Allen, Jim Gilmore and Mark Earley that it is a good thing, we all deserve to know where Jerry Kilgore stands. Will he sign the pledge or not? Will he PROMISE not to raise taxes, or will he say he needs an out? Which is it?

    Paul Jost

  13. Mattaponi Avatar

    whatever the current stance of Mr. Kilgore, Phil’s exegesis on past positions raises another question: Why are AG candidates pressed to take pledges on taxes? The day the AG starts messing with my taxes (assuming he’s not chasing me for some advanced form of evasion) is the day I begin to think he’s not tending to his knitting out there in law enforcement land.

  14. Barnie Day Avatar

    Paul, I quite agree! Shall we out him? Will he sign, or not. Is he a lion? Or just another sheep in sheep’s clothing? Will he, or won’t he? That, sir, is the question. Paul, you have standing. Call him tonight! Demand an answer!

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