A Republican Who Doesn’t Back Away from a Fight

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to credit former Gov. Jim Gilmore with being a fighter. He relishes the rough and tumble of politics, and doesn’t shy away from controversy. Speaking to the press at the annual gathering of GOP luminaries at the Homestead, Gilmore faulted the party for not being critical enough of Gov. Mark R. Warner’s tax and budgetary policies, according to Tyler Whitley, a reporter.

Gilmore questioned the validity of polls that showed Warner with a favorable rating of more than 70 percent. Poll questions were not directed, he noted, to Warner’s broken promise to raise taxes, nor, as Whitley paraphrased it, his “lack of attention” to transportation and education. Also, Gilmore accused Warner of creating a “false crisis” in 2004 to justify a $1.4 billion tax increase.

Some one needs to counter the Warner administration spin on the 2004 tax hike. Thanks in part to a compliant press corps, Warner successfully blamed all of the earlier state’s budget woes on Gilmore, his predecessor. Gilmore deserves much of the criticism, particularly for the shambles his administration made of transportation spending. But the budgetary crisis brought on by the recession had passed by 2004. Despite warnings from bond-rating service Moodys that Virginia’s AAA bond rating was on “watch” status, revenues were pouring into the state Treasury appreciably faster than forecast in Warner’s budget — and the surpluses have been ballooning in size ever since.

Unwilling to offend Warner’s Republican allies in the state Senate, Jerry Kilgore did not make a major issue of the 2004 tax hike in his gubernatorial race. Gilmore, who told reporters that he is interested in seeking elected office again, would be well advised to keep the issue alive. But if he wants to have credibility when he speaks about the budget, he needs to acknowledge the mistakes that were made, particularly in transportation, on his watch.

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10 responses to “A Republican Who Doesn’t Back Away from a Fight”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Gilmore offering critiques of Governor Warner’s ability to govern has the same amount of credibility as Coach Matt Dougherty’s criticisms about Coach Dean Smith.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Mark Warner will go down as the greatest failure in Virginia history.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I could only stay at the Advance through early this afternoon. I was about 6 feet from Gov Gilmore when he gave this speech.

    Your last paragraph captures the dilemma Jerry Kilgore faced. We all make choices and live with them.

    Jerry’s speech at lunch today was full of dignity, humility and character. He set the stage to help Sen. George Allen run for the Senate in 06 and President in 08. More on that in my upload later.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    OK. So we’ve got money coming in, now. The state is like someone who was laid off and later got his job back. His cash flow is OK, but he still has a lot of catching up to do.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    You guys are wrong if you underestimate the depth of mainstream R, I, and D disdain for Gilmore.

  6. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: The D’s should disdain him. Define this mainstream R that disdains Gilmore.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    You go Gilmore!!!

    I’m glad somebody with a voice finally questioned Warner’s big deficit. There are a lot of us that think he just wanted to make a big splash in the newspapers and cio magazines so he could get his name in the mainstream. Not to mention having something to put on his campaign posters. Voila! Billion-dollar IT spending instead of billion-dollar deficits! I’d vote for him IF IT WERE TRUE! Meanwhile, taxes are raised and taxpayers don’t get the transportation upgrades and other programs they deserve. He even waited until the very end of his term to push through the sellout to NG so if it went down the tubes he could blame it on those left behind (look out Lem Stewart!). Already we’re seeing quotes from him about “IF it’s well executed, blah, blah, blah”. Isn’t it fishy how he, Newstrom and Huang all bugged out before the deal was tested? No doubt, Warner is a brilliant man. I’m just not sure that he’s looking out for anyone other than himself! Virginia has been a wonderful stepping stone so far.

    I just pray the real deal will come out before Warner gets elected President. Kilgore let us down. Come on Republicans! Make us proud!!!

  8. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Anonymous 9:33, you said, “The state is like someone who was laid off and later got his job back. His cash flow is OK, but he still has a lot of catching up to do.”

    You have articulated a theme that appears frequently in this blog, the idea that Virginia’s current surge in spending reflects a lot of “catch up” after the hardships of the recession.

    Gov. Warner will submit his proposed fiscal 2006/2007 budget in just a couple of weeks. I anticipate that we’ll see another surge in spending. When we compare the numbers year to year over the course of his administration, we’ll see that state spending — recession be damned — has increased dramatically, and that the spending trajectory is not slowing down one iota as we move into the Kaine administration.

    For the sake of intellectual honesty, pro-tax advocates should be saying, “Yes, government spending is rising big-time in Virginia, and we’re proud of it. Government takes the biggest share of citizen incomes in the state’s history — as it rightfully ought to.” No more poor mouthing, please.

  9. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Bacon: Just last week Governor Warner announced an $18 million budget diversion to provide expanded heating assistance to the poor — where were you anti-government spending prima donnas? Nowhere. Not a peep out of you. That was a classic liberal, Robin Hood income transfer. It was even more worthwhile to debate, of course, because the money actually goes to the fuel and energy providers — and heaven knows they are having a tough year! In reality, they seldom kick off poor customers in winter. I looked for the assault on Bacon’s Rebellion, but I looked in vain.

    All bark, no bite.

    The state budget is exploding thanks to Medicaid, FAMIS, K-12 education (much of it remediation and special ed). That’s where the money from the 2004 tax increase went and bulk of the new revenue in 2006 will go. You can pick on the little agencies and the petty inefficiencies, dissect VITA and economic incentive programs, but unless and until you are willing to tackle those mega-issues and advocate changes that have impacts on real people in real ways, its all just wind. Speaker Howell sees it, anybody who follows the budget sees it.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Gilmore articulates the issues I care about…. more than a few of my friends agree. It isn’t enough to be good looking and have great name id (Allen) or be popular & well funded (Mark Warner)

    If Virginia is going to produce the next President, I prefer Gilmore. Sure – he has his baggage but at least he is a moral & steady leader. Not wishy washy like Allen. Or full-out socialist like Warner.

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