The Incredible Expanding Budget Surplus

Gov. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine are still boasting how they increased taxes in 2004. In the same e-mail quoted in my previous post, described as “from the desk of Mark R. Warner,” the Kaine campaign makes the following statement: “In 2004, we joined with responsible legislators from both parties to enact the most sweeping tax and budget reform in the nation in the last decade, cutting taxes on food and incomes, and raising them on cigarettes and a half penny on the sales tax.”

The e-mail blast doesn’t mention the fact that budget “reform” ended up raising taxes by roughly $700 million per year. Nor does it mention the large and growing budget surpluses that promptly followed.

When you go to vote tomorrow, just bear this fact in mind: The Commonwealth of Virginia is on track for a more than $2 billion surplus this year. Had the state not increased taxes in 2004, we’d still be on track for a surplus of $1.3 billion or more! We could have paid for Mark Warner’s huge K-12 education spending programs, the clean-up-the-Bay initiatives, growing Medicaid bills and a whole lot more without raising one extra dime in taxes.

But don’t believe me. Scan Secretary of Finance John Bennett’s September 2005 report. September, he notes, is the “first significant data point” for the fiscal year. Here’s how the General Fund is doing so far: It’s brought in $3.55 billion in revenue compared to $3.11 billion the same quarter last year. We’re running 14 percent ahead of last year — and 16.9 percent of what we actually need, given the humongous surplus last year!

The bottom line: The tax increase was absolutely unnecessary. Tim Kaine wants to own that tax increase. Let him. And when the General Assembly figures out how to spend the surplus — with massive increases in state spending the inevitable result — let him own that, too.


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6 responses to “The Incredible Expanding Budget Surplus”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    How can Jerry spend more AND keep a lid on taxes? Sorry, but the math doesn’t add up. Spending = taxing, just not necessarily immediately.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Kilgore will be spending more by cutting taxes and using “extra state money” to pay for roads.

    “Extra state money”. Now why didn’t somebody think of that sooner! We could have avoided raising taxes if someone had just been bright enough to use the “extra state money” that’s been lying around just waiting to be used.

    Bottom line – they are BOTH liars and bottom feeders.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Oh grow up. Here’s the real truth: the budget reform raised the sales tax, which will have an effect on people, but the majority of the tax increase came in the form of raising the tobacco tax to one half the national average. If you don’t smoke, you don’t see the majority of that tax increase.

    And let’s not forget what Republican hacks never mention: we actually eliminated the state portion of the grocery tax. That’s right, groceries, the thing EVERYONE has to buy anyway. I’m sorry if the Dell Computer you’re typing on cost a few extra buckos this year, but lower income Virginians got a break on the essential items this year.

    And that extra money? It’s not going to Governor Warner’s pocket, it created the LARGEST investment in public schools in Virginia’s history, something no Republican administration has ever done. “Unnecessary?” Not if you actually want public schools funded in this state.

  4. Salt Lick Avatar

    And as everyone knows, more and more and more money is the key to good public schools.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    2 billion is enough to fund VDOT desires for one year. I f we come out ahead next year, too, we will have accomplished 20% of VDOTs ten year plan.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    “Not if you actually want public schools funded in this state.”

    Why do liberals always insist that the first dollar cut in a budget is the first dollar spent on education.

    Can you seriously maintain that public schools would not be “funded” in Virginia if the tax increase had not passed?

    The facts are that we could spend the exact same amount we are currently spending on schools if we hadn’t raised taxes ONE DIME in 2004.

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