Campaign 2005 Issues for Dummies

Pamela Stallsmith with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Mike Porter with NBC12 have queried Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore and Russ Potts on the major issues of the gubernatorial campaign, filmed the responses and posted the video clips online.

Line up the candidates side by side and see what they have to say about the major issues, from taxes and education to transportation and illegal immigrants. The clips here are short and succinct. It beats reading those boring op-ed pieces on the campaign websites. (By the way, when I describe the clips as “campaign issues for dummies,” I’m not being insulting. It’s nice to have this stuff condensed to a palatable format.)

A tip of the hat to Chris Smith for leading us to this resource.

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  1. Abitmorered Avatar

    Right off the bat, I reject Kaine’s claim the Warner/Kaine administration “restored” the Triple ‘A’ bond rating. Virginia never lost the rating nor does it appear that it would have. Well some may disagree, but regardless, if Virginia did loose the rating it would have been short lived and the overall affect in total dollars spent in slightly higher interest rates would have be negligible when compared to the full budget. There were other statements made that bothered me, but that was the worst.

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Agreed. Getting off the “watch” list at one and only one of the three rating agencies probably does not qualify for the verb “restored.” “Protected” might be a better word. It is also fair to say that the bond rating could have been protected by spending cuts just as easily as raising revenue.

    But I disagree with the assertion that losing it would not have been a big deal — it would have been huge. As one anaylst said at the time, losing it would be far worse than never having it in the first place.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Preserved would be the best word about bond rating. And that rating matters, a lot. Trust me, I work in local government finance and I would love to have Albemarle’s rating as it would save us tons of cash on notes.

    That being said, I found Jerry’s answer on why he wants to be Governor completely nonsensical. He dropped in about as many buzzwords and tested messages as I have ever heard in a 30 second speech. Would someone please let me know what honest reform means?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    According to my secret decoder ring it means “I’m a disciple of George Allen.”

  5. Abitmorered Avatar

    Steve, I respectful say I believe you are among the multitude that has been fooled by Warner/Potts that maintaining our Triple AAA rating was so important. Again, I say if we did indeed lose it, it would have been short live and the cost negligible as compared to the entire State budget as a whole.

    You know right now in my life I can get the best credit terms possible due to blessing bestowed on me by The Creator. However, in my business, tomorrow may be different. My ups and downs in life are much like the States. Some years are better than others. But smart and reasonable management is better than increasing taxes. After all, in my lean years I simply cannot demand more money. I have to tighten the belt and sometimes pay a little more interest. The State MUST learn to do the same. We should DEMAND more accountability from our elected officials. Stop looking for Pork to be a factor of determining whether we need to elect someone. I hate to hear politicians say they brought $$$ to his or her district in tax money like its some sort of competition.

    Anyway, regarding the triple AAA rating, read this from a Winc-Star editorial:

    The Bond Rating
    A Matter of Money — or Pride?

    With regard to Virginia’s cherished AAA bond rating, a source of contention and consternation in this year’s prolonged budget battle, is preserving it a matter of money — down-home dollars and cents — or pride?

    The actual money involved between AAA and AA status suggests it’s the latter. And that would be acceptable, providing that Virginians are sufficiently alarmed to favor a pretty substantial rise in taxes to preserve the rate at which the state borrows money for capital projects.

    The figures, as reported in The Washington Post a week ago Sunday, are these: Demotion to AA status translates into borrowing money at interest rates roughly five-hundredths of a percentage point higher. Breaking this down into dollars and cents, it means that if the Old Dominion were to borrow $500 million for projects, as it did in 2003, the AA rating would drain an additional $250,000 a year from state coffers. To Joe Average Citizen, that’s a nice chunk of dough; to a state whose budget is roughly $26 billion a year, that’s virtual pocket change.

    So what’s the fuss? Why have Gov. Warner and certain legislators repeatedly raised a hue-and-cry about not wanting to see the rating diminished on their watch? In other words, is $250,000 worth all the tumult and the shouting?

    In the governor’s — and many others’ — eyes, it is. Maintenance of the AAA rating, held for the past 66 years, tells one and all that Virginia has been financially stable, and will be in years to come. By the same token, a demotion tells other states that Virginia is losing its long-held grip on fiscal stability.
    Thus, it does all come down to perception — and pride. Or, as U.Va. political analyst Larry Sabato has said, “This goes to the very heart of what it means to be a Virginian. It’s part of our identity.”

    At least, it’s part of the state’s political identity. Folks interviewed by The Post who were familiar with the bond rating issue — only two of 10 queried were — indicated that, in their mind, Virginia would not lose its “seal of approval” if its bond rating were downgraded to AA. Besides, as one Northern Virginia resident said, “if they want to continue spending money they don’t have, they deserve to lose their bond rating.”

    These sentiments reflect back to the heart of the issue: What is more important — preservation of the elite AAA rating, or raising taxes in order to maintain it? That is, part and parcel, what the Senate and the House of Delegates are arguing about.

    Would we like to see that AAA rating preserved? All things being equal, most definitely. It’s far better to borrow money at a lower rate than at a higher one. But is pride alone sufficient to justify the everyday cost to the taxpayer that some in Richmond say is needed to preserve the rating?

    Or, put more bluntly, is an additional $250,000 in interest payments worth saddling the taxpayer with the sort of tax increase envisioned by some Senate Republicans?

  6. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    I was chief lobbyist of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Warner and Potts weren’t telling us it was important, WE were telling THEM it was important. Perhaps the business establishment fooled them! I can tell you it was a big issue with our Board of Directors and my boss, Keogh, a former economic development director for the state, considered it a major recruitment asset. It was more than pride alone.

    But you also missed an earlier statement I made. It could have been preserved by spending cuts. Moody’s didn’t care — it just wanted income and outgo to balance.

  7. Abitmorered Avatar

    Yeah. I did miss that. Thanks.

    You know, I’m not so much set on cuts. However, I firmly believe enough is enough. Find some funding formula and stick with it. Make the State run on a set number/percentage, or whatever, and give the localities a few more taxing tools to work on special needs. In other words, let local folks generate their own “pork”. We must stop the State government from raising taxes for arbitrary reasons. You would think after 200+ years, we would know what it takes to run the State.

  8. Environmental issues?

    Bay cleanup?


    There are a lot of issues missing from the race. Its horrible and the media is helping perpetuate it.

  9. Abitmorered Avatar

    Environmental issues? Bay cleanup? VaPAF?

    Could you be a little more specfic. Just what do you want discussed?

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