Tag Archives: Guest contributors

Want to Help Workers Work? Keep Virginia’s Right-to-Work Law

by Chris Braunlich

Are a majority of Democratic candidates for the Virginia General Assembly “anti-worker?” Based on their response to a Virginia Chamber of Commerce survey, it would seem that way.

General Assembly candidates were surveyed on whether they would support Virginia’s Right To Work (RTW) laws. Republicans were unanimously supportive. Democrats were almost equally opposed to retaining the Commonwealth’s 72-year-old law, with only five responding they would keep it.

The “comments” section of the survey betrayed the ignorance of many candidates about the advantages of Right To Work, portraying the law as a Dickensian throwback pitting businesses against workers with some citing a questionable recent Oxfam survey (see column by Chris Saxman) ranking Virginia low on “best state for workers.”

The truth shows a very different picture. Study after study demonstrates that a state Right To Work law improves not only the opportunity for a worker to have a job, but also drives personal incomes higher. Continue reading

End Parental Discrimination in Surrogacy Cases

by Jay Timmons

Residents in the Richmond area are represented by three Republicans in the state Senate with very different views of Life and Family. All three will be on the ballot Tuesday.

When it counted, Siobhan Dunnavant stood strong for children and the unborn. But sadly, Glen Sturtevant and Amanda Chase chose discrimination and bigotry over Life. Sturtevant and Chase acted as charlatans who sent a very clear message with their votes that our son did not even have the right to exist.

The bill, HB1979, which Dunnavant supported and Sturtevant and Chase callously voted against, is also known as “Jacob’s Law,” and was inspired by my son and the horrific four-year legal battle that my husband Rick and I endured in an out-of-state court. The bill was simple – eliminate discrimination in Virginia’s parental rights laws for children born through surrogacy so that all intended parents are treated equally. The bill brought laws on surrogacy in line with those that existed for adoption in Virginia. Most importantly, the bill – which is now law thanks to bipartisan support – means more frozen embryos can be rescued and saved from potential destruction. Continue reading

Making Solar Power a Win-Win for Everyone

by Felix Garcia

There is a simple and common-sense approach to energy policy in Virginia. Go to the energy source which provides abundant, safe electricity at the least cost — solar.

Our company is called AgriSunPower (ASP). Along with our co-developer Hecate Energy, our thought process begins with a simple premise. Solar power is the cheapest and most reliable potential energy source which exists today. Why not look for ways to collaborate with a multitude of stakeholders to expand Virginia’s solar energy capacity to feed the growing appetite for green energy?

Chicago-based Hecate Energy is no stranger to Virginia’s burgeoning green energy scene. The company’s successful development of solar farms in Clarke County and Virginia’s Eastern Shore, later acquired by Dominion Energy, illustrate our approach to utility-scaled solar power generation. We base our pitch on economics and economic development. We seek projects in locations where local government believes that solar power is a big win for everybody, and we flip our facility to the local utility that has provided electricity to the community for generations. Continue reading

Will “One Fairfax” Become “One Virginia”?

Blue Fairfax… Source: Best Neighborhood.com

by  Tom Pafford

You may have heard the Commonwealth is close to succumbing to the -control of the Democratic Party and its bullying Progressive (read Socialist) agenda. As the Democratic apparatchiks working at BlueVirginia put it, “With 3 1/2 Weeks to Go, ‘Things Aren’t Looking Good for the Virginia GOP’.”

Yep, the outlook looks bleak!

With Bleakness as a backdrop, let me introduce Fairfax County’s “One Fairfax” policy. Many readers of Bacon’s Rebellion know nothing of this policy, but once Virginia is as blue as the skies over Russia, you’ll feel its burn!

One Fairfax preaches a message of help by promoting economic benefits for all citizens in Fairfax County under a concept called, “Equity.” Equity is defined as: “The commitment to promote fairness and justice in the formation of public policy that results in all residents – regardless of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, socio-economic status or neighborhood of residence or other characteristics – having opportunity to fully participate in the region’s economic vitality, contribute to its readiness for the future, and connect to its assets and resources.”

Fairfax County’s leaders are clear about why such a policy is required.
Historically, we have designed man-made, institutionalized barriers — the policy refers to them as socially constructed barriers — that diminish citizens’ chances for full economic fairness and justice. Continue reading

Taxes Likely to Go up in Virginia

by Hans Bader

Taxes are likely to increase in Virginia after the Democrats take control of its state legislature this fall. Democratic spending proposals would add at least a billion dollars annually to the state budget. These costly proposals can’t be paid for without raising taxes, because the cost of existing state programs is already rising faster than state revenue. That leaves too little money to pay for new programs, unless there’s a tax increase.

More importantly, state revenue will shrink due to several labor policies that Democrats are likely to enact. Those policies will eliminate 100,000 jobs or more. Job losses reduce state income tax revenue, because unemployed people have less income. They also cut state sales tax revenue, because unemployed people have less money to spend. The result will be a growing gap between higher spending and lower revenue. To eliminate that gap, the state will eventually have to raise tax rates a lot.

The State Board of Education recently proposed increasing education spending by $950 million. Unfortunately, that proposal also contains a provision that undermines safeguards against wasteful government spending. It states that in the future, the “Board would no longer have authority to withhold these funds,” even when a school system fails to meet “state accountability standards and fails to implement corrective action plans.” Continue reading

Electric Vehicles Are Punishingly Overtaxed in Virginia

by Alleyn Harned

In an October 15th post, James Bacon asked the question: How should we tax electric vehicles?

Bacon’s bottom line is reasonable, and it is worth noting that electric vehicles (EVs) and clean fuels already pay more than their fair share in Virginia with equivalent or excessive taxes, according to Consumer Reports. It is easy to agree with Bacon’s ideas of user fees and externalities, where EVs also pay, and where pollution externalities are integrated into state fee structures.

However, Virginia has not ignored the transportation revenue potential of EVs and reaps a high tax on these vehicles. Since the McDonnell administration, electric vehicles been assessed a punishing $64 a year fee in order to gather an approximate amount of revenue equivalent to somewhat more than traditional vehicles pay in gas tax. This fee has been used by the oil industry to justify high fees nationwide.

A recent Consumer Reports study in September showed that now in many states, electric-car fees often cost far more than what owners of gasoline-powered cars pay in gas tax. Virginia’s fee is 5% higher, even though EVs and clean fuel vehicles have great benefit to the Commonwealth through emissions reduction.

I suggest we should tax electric vehicles no greater than gasoline and diesel vehicles. Other financing mechanisms are great, but punishing cleaner vehicles fueled by domestic energy creates an unbalanced playing field favoring high cost oil. Continue reading

Go, Nats, Go!

by Bill Tracy

Virginia’s own Thomas Jefferson along with his friends Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington are very happy today.

In case you did not notice, there is big news in NoVA: The Washington Nationals are National League Champions for the first time in franchise history!

Unexpectedly, many wholesome life lessons appear to be coming from this very fun sports effort. Appearing to be down-and-out in May, Washington’s home team persevered to win the National League pennant. Attendance was down, and even die-hard fans felt the team had no chance to advance in the playoff as late as a few weeks ago. Team manager Davey Martinez was on the outs with many fans in May, but the Lerner family (team owners) trusted in his potential as a 2nd-year baseball manager.

Suddenly, only a few days ago, people started using the words “World Series” and “Washington Nationals” in the same sentence.  Washington, D.C., will now host its first Word Series since 1933.

Is there a Virginia angle here? Aside from many NoVA fans like me attending games? Jim always insists that I talk about Virginia in my posts.

How about Ryan Zimmerman? According to Wikipedia, Zimmerman graduated from Kellam High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia and played college baseball at the University of Virginia. He has been a member of the Nationals since his and the Nationals debut in 2005. He is well known for his clutch hitting and walkoff hits. Continue reading

Demolishing Oxfam’s Laughable Ranking

by Chris Saxman

Some things just have to be challenged at the outset before they gain traction and become an untrue reality.

Gaining traction among too many candidates for the General Assembly is a ranking, released by a British organization, Oxfam, that graded American states and the District of Columbia on best states for workers. This is the second year of their ranking. Here’s what their release stated:

In 2018, workers are not sharing in the bounty of our thriving economy—and the federal government is not going to make changes that matter. However, some states are taking steps to keep working families out of poverty, and to give them a decent chance. How does your state rank?

According to Oxfam’s rankings, Virginia ranks LAST out of the 50 states and DC.

A ranking of #51 out of 51, we believe, is worth challenging.

How are these rankings compiled? And what is Oxfam anyway? (Click the above link,) Continue reading

Robin Hood and the Borderline Itemizers

by Bill Tracy

I am pleased to report that Robin Hood is alive and well in Virginia! Most taxpayers are now receiving a state tax rebate courtesy Governor Ralph Northam and the General Assembly. Eligible taxpayers may receive up to $110 for individual filers and up to $220 for a married couple filing jointly.

But, hey, wait one minute! Where the heck is all of this “income redistribution” cash coming from? Taxpayers like me, of course, had their state taxes increased substantially. If you will recall, about a year ago, Gov Northam was saying that some Virginia taxpayers have been underpaying taxes, and he aimed to fix that by increasing them.

Who were these deadbeat Virginia taxpayers? Some are senior citizens like me who have committed the “crime” of not having enough itemized deductions to meet the new higher Federal standard deduction. As senior citizens, my wife and I now have to come up with $26,600 of itemized deductions or suffer the consequences of Virginia’s new tax bite. Continue reading

A Dialogue on Money in Virginia Politics

Jeff Thomas: Thank you for having me to Bacon’s Rebellion, Jim. I’m a longtime reader, first-time poster. Money in Virginia politics is an important topic on which I think we both agree, and I’m eager to hear your take on it. As I understand it, we’ll each answer and ask a question of the other within a 500-word limit. So let me begin.

What would be the rules for your ideal campaign finance system in Virginia?

Jim Bacon: Jeff, I’m delighted to engage in this exchange. As author of “The Virginia Way: Democracy and Power after 2016,” you are one of the few writers to take a deep interest in Virginia’s political economy, genuinely trying to understand the sources and distribution of power at the state/local level. Hopefully, this dialogue will prove illuminating.

Like you and many others, I find the role of money in politics to be disturbing. It is deeply unfair that the rich and powerful can buy more political influence through campaign contributions than ordinary citizens. But unfairness is part of the human condition. The question is whether the cure is worse than the disease. I do not believe in restricting campaign contributions, even if it means giving a billionaire California liberal like Tom Steyer and his NextGen Climate Action group (more than $3.7 million in the past few years) a bigger voice in Virginia politics than a life-long resident like myself. The Constitution gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and the right to petition government, and I regard the donation of money to political candidates as an extension of both those rights. Continue reading

Rankings Spam

by Chris Saxman

There are a LOT of rankings and polls coming out these days. Some are credible, others less so.

Recently, a ranking was released by Oxfam that graded the states and the District of Columbia. This is the second year of their ranking. Here’s what their release stated:

In 2018, workers are not sharing in the bounty of our thriving economy—and the federal government is not going to make changes that matter. However, some states are taking steps to keep working families out of poverty, and to give them a decent chance. How does your state rank?

According to Oxfam’s rankings, Virginia ranks LAST out of the 50 states and DC.

#51 out of 51.

LAST? <cue gasp>

Wait. How are these rankings compiled? And what is Oxfam anyway? (Click the link above.) Continue reading

Those Tenant-Eviction Stats Are Valid

by Marty Wegbreit

The August 15, 2019 post, “A Closer Look at Those Tenant-Eviction Stats,” fails to stand up to statistical or critical analysis. The post blames Virginia’s Independent City/County form of government for high eviction rates. (Five of the highest ten eviction rates in large U.S. cities over 100,000 population are in Virginia.) Virginia’s independent cities do not incorporate the wealthier suburbs. Supposedly, this artificially raises the eviction rate. No data are presented to support this theory.

When you examine cities of similar population, similar area, and similar percentage of African-American population, Richmond still stands out with a high eviction rate.

Richmond’s eviction rate is substantially greater than Jackson, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La. Something clearly is wrong in Richmond. The theory of cities that do not incorporate wealthier suburbs also fails when comparing Richmond to Chesapeake, an independent city more than 5½ times larger in area. Continue reading

The Microgrid Option

Microgrids would make it easier to integrate more rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources into the electric grid.

By Jane Twitmyer

Building a clean electric system takes more than switching from fossil fuels to renewables. To make good use of wind and solar power, Virginia needs a modern, flexible electric grid that can exploit and optimize the unique attributes those resources bring to bear. And it needs new rules — laws and regulations — that can allow such a system to develop.

A more flexible electric system will be built in part around microgrids. The Navigant consulting firm defines microgrids as networks incorporating a variety of distributed energy resources, such as wind and solar, that can be aggregated, can balance loads and generation with or without energy storage, and can function whether connected or not to a traditional utility power grid.

As distributed renewable energy resources replace large central generation plants — more rooftop solar, more community wind and solar — electricity generation becomes more localized. Localized generators, particularly photovoltaic solar, require less supporting infrastructure. For instance, local generation doesn’t require transmission lines to wheel electricity across long distances (leaking electricity in the process). And unlike natural gas, it doesn’t require pipelines to deliver fuel to the generating site. Continue reading

Saving Atlantic Loggerheads from Plastics

Nesting loggerhead at Cape Hatteras

On the evening of June 11,  two endangered Loggerhead sea turtles crawled out of the ocean and wriggled up the sand at Virginia Beach. One dug a hole, laid 150-eggs and covered them with sand before returning to sea. The eggs had to be carefully relocated by human intervention to a safer nesting spot. In about 60-days, these eggs should hatch, and the baby loggerheads will instinctively head out to the Gulf Stream to mature, taking a  giant “lazy river” ride, circulating repeatedly to the other side of the Atlantic and back for more than a decade.

Should they survive, these hatchlings already know that Virginia is for Lovers, since they are biologically encoded to return here to mate and lay their eggs.  Virginia however is at the northernmost extent of the Loggerhead range and has only a few sporadic sea turtle nests.

To more closely study Loggerhead survival, our family recently made a scientific journey to prime Loggerhead breeding territory: Hilton Head Island, S.C. Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part V

This is the final part of a five-part series on the transgender wars in Virginia.

by Tom Pafford

Around the 5th Century BC, Sun Tzu wrote a book on War.  No one comes close to what this Chinese master of battle devised. Chapter 6 in his book is titled, Week Points and Strong. Here is Sun Tzu’s advice…

You may advance and be absolutely irresistible if you make for the enemy’s weak points… Though the enemy be stronger in number, we may prevent him from fighting… Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.

In Part One, I mentioned that Virginia has become a battleground for all things Transgender. Here’s how this came to be and why Fairfax County is important…

As you know, Fairfax County, Richmond, and Hampton Roads are Democratic Leftist strongholds. The vote there moves all of Virginia left. The Left has big goals for Virginia. Since 2013, major news outlets have stated that, “As Virginia goes, so goes the nation. Why? Because Virginia is a state that increasingly resembles the United States as a whole. Millions of dollars are funneled into Virginia to gain National momentum for a 2020 Democrat win and force the Transgender Catechism upon parents, children and society. I do not know their Virginia strategy, but it appears that Virginia is a must-win state. Continue reading