The Mo’ Money Mountain Grows Ever Bigger

In his latest budgetary proposal, Governor Ralph Northam has proposed returning $733 million to Virginia taxpayers… Oh, wait a minute. I guess I misread the announcement. It seems he’s proposing $733 million in new spending to protect the environment and fight climate change.

That’s on top of advocating Virginia’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, expected to cost ratepayers multiple billions of dollars over the next decade; mo’ money for a preschool initiative; mo’ money for K-12 education; mo’ money to reduce maternal mortality; mo’ money for Medicaid; and mo’ money for the Virginia Retirement System. Meanwhile, his Secretary of Transportation is pushing for mo’ money for transportation funding, and he has yet to declare his position on the higher education lobby’s clamor for mo’ money.

There’s money for every Democratic Party constituency imaginable. That’s what you get with growing tax revenue and a statehouse controlled by Democrats. The one constituency getting muscled away from the feeding trough is the taxpayer. Elections have consequences.

And what are the middle- and working-class saps who pay the taxes doing about it? They’re mobilizing in defense of gun rights, getting rural and suburban localities to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.

What????? People, in the grand scheme of things, what is a bigger threat to your way of life? Restrictions on your right to purchase semi-automatic weapons… or higher income taxes, higher electric bills, higher gas taxes, runaway cost of college attendance, and out-of-control increases in the cost of health care? A few more years of going in the direction we’re going, and you won’t be able to afford to buy a semi-automatic rifle!

— JAB

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17 responses to “The Mo’ Money Mountain Grows Ever Bigger

  1. Prepare for some grandiose bloviating below:

    The problem is that the two-party system has failed almost everywhere in the country, again. This has happened several times in our history. We’ve found a way forward within the Constitution each time. Whether or not we do so this time, once the two-party system fails and until a new system is devised and accepted, electoral politics immediately lose their ability to ameliorate social tensions and can only make things worse. So I think you’re right about the problem, on a policy level, JAB. But that’s not enough to know what to do about it.

    What should us “middle- and working-class saps” do? Vote in the other team in playing this rigged game? _The one that is currently organizing 2nd Amendment rallies?_ Start a third party? That doesn’t sound like useful work to me, at least not yet. I don’t pretend to know what to do, but I’m confident that the right answers for this moment have nothing at all to do with electoral politics. Maybe we need to look back to President Washington’s famous parting words about the “baneful effects of the spirit of party”?

    “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

    The permanent despotism of which he is thinking is the “absolute power of an individual”, as he immediately remarks, but the despotism of poverty to which you are pointing is as crushing, and the “frightful despotism” of party can lead us there just as quickly and surely as it can lead us to oligarchy. We’re taking that ride right now.

    • Great point and great General Washington quotes. Here’s my idea – a constitutional amendment to the Virginia constitution that requires a 2/3rds vote by the General Assembly in order to raise state spending by more than the combination of inflation plus (or minus) population change.

      • You are one of those who complain so much about Virginia being behind the rest of the country. Such a limitation on spending would guarantee that the state would fall even further behind. So, state employees, who already are paid less than their counterparts in the private sector, should have their salary increases limited to the amount of inflation? The gap gets wider and fewer good people have an incentive to work for the state. Medicaid increases alone would probably be the only thing that could get approved under such a proposal. Isn’t a balanced budget enough protection–the state cannot spend more than it takes in.

        • No. The government should strive to become more efficient. The cost / citizen of government needs to go down. Wasteful spending needs to be cut.

          A balanced budget may hold back on excessive debt but it doesn’t hold back on excessive spending and taxation.

          As for the old “good people won’t work for government” saw … I’ve heard that for the past 30 years. Seems to me that the vacant jobs in government get filled pretty quick.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            I don’t think anyone would argue against cutting wasteful spending. The problem is identifying wasteful spending; people’s ideas differ over what is wasteful.

            As for filling state jobs, it is not a question of how fast they get filled, but a question of who fills those positions. As for quickly filling those positions, in recent years, mid and senior level managers have told me that it is getting harder and harder to find qualified applicants for some mid-level positions such as fiscal technicians and trade positions (electricians, plumbers, etc.), due to the salary levels of these positions. The result is that those positions stay vacant for overly long periods.

          • Finding qualified applicants is not just a government issue. If I asked my customers to pay more, because we don’t have enough qualified help, they would not be sympathetic…. nor should the taxpayers.

            There is a lack of accountability between taxpayers and those who benefit from the tax revenues. Perhaps, instead of creating physical or regulatory monuments to themselves, our politicians should take care of what they have. If that’s not possible, downsize.

            With roads in disrepair, Mayor Remy addresses his city’s most pressing need:
            https://youtu.be/fb3HcuFyDFQ

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Don says:
            “As for the old “good people won’t work for government” saw … I’ve heard that for the past 30 years. Seems to me that the vacant jobs in government get filled pretty quick.”

            Yes, government now, more likely than not, pays too much for the work product delivered.

            Show me a job(s) where no one can be fired and I will guarantee you that the great majority of those doing that job are doing it in highly wasteful ways, have lost their original mission, do little productive work for others, and are instead in business of keeping their gig going for themselves, riding their own gravy train, and amazed at how lucky they are, being paid so much to do so little for so long.

  2. Ok, Jim – how with the Republicans play this? I see television commercials for some wacko named Tom Stoyer all the time. He’s some kind of private equity parasite who wants to be president. His commercials are basically Stoyer glorifying himself and bashing Trump. He has two concrete proposals – national referenda and term limits for Congressmen. Neither one can be implemented by the president of the US. Both would require constitutional amendments. But … his constant commercials are pounding out a message of governmental reform. He’ll never be president but he’s increasing awareness.

    When will the Republicans take to the airwaves to consistently remind voter of just how much higher their taxes and fees have gotten under the Democrats?

    Either start poisoning the “tax and spend” well now or give up on 2021.

  3. re: ” Here’s my idea – a constitutional amendment to the Virginia constitution that requires a 2/3rds vote by the General Assembly in order to raise state spending by more than the combination of inflation plus (or minus) population change.”

    I like it – with caveats related to Anonymous3444 concerns.

    and yes… if it’s not gun rights, it’s abortion or Confederate monuments, or the “war on illegals ” and other culture war nonsense that the right loves to chew on these days instead of real issues.

    What I LIKE is the idea of keeping any increases to inflation and population growth as the default and anything over that has to be agreed to.

    But turning this over to the two warring factions in the GA is just a recipe for more partisan warfare and gridlock.

    I’d rather see such a proposal put directly to voters via referenda WITHOUT a vote at the GA level where the voters are ignored and actually misled on issues and the lobby folks reign supreme.

    And I’d LIKE to see regions do this also if the state as a whole cannot agree.

    Good luck on getting this idea through the GA!

  4. I worked in the Dept. of Planning and Budget under the full administrations of six governors–three Republicans and three Democrats. Except for a couple of years under Warner, there were additional revenues for each upcoming budget year. None of those Governors, or the General Assembly at the time, mostly under Republicans, offered to return that additional money “to the people”. Instead, they proposed mostly constructive ways to spend it for the good of the Commonwealth. With one exception, none proposed a tax reduction. The exception was Gilmore, who proposed a cut in local taxing authority. So, this blaming Northam and the Democrats as if they were the only politicians who wanted to spend “mo money” is wearing a little thin for me. Instead of complaining about their proposing to spend the additional revenue, it seems as if it would be more constructive to focus on the merits of the various proposals.

    • The Republicans in Virginia certainly have their faults. However, I didn’t hear the same hue and cry for mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money before the 2019 General Assembly session. As Jim accurately describes – not that the Dems have control it seems like nary a day goes by before another liberal politician or bureaucrat puts out a call for mo’ money. Maybe it’s mostly talk. We’ll see. But all these calls for mo’ money means mo’ taxes, a lot mo’ taxes.

      • What you are seeing now is the traditional, annual previewing of the good things in the budget that the Governor wants to highlight and get a lot of credit for before the budget officially comes out and the details get lost in the overall picture and the holidays. Every Governor does it. There is likely to be an announcement per day until he presents the budget to the GA.

    • I put this in wrong spot earlier-
      In 1964 US unemployment was at 5%. The US economy and US power dwarfed the entire world, the envy of the whole world too. Inflation was minuscule, the middle class expanding like Topsy. Poverty had been cut in half since 1940, was down to 15%, from 30% a little more that two decades before, and was falling steadily every year. Our system of education, from top to bottom, was also the best of the world.

      So, in 1964, LBJ with his overweening arrogance and rotten character, set about creating a false crisis and thereby build his own power and control, went about breeding trouble and making matters far far worse by declaring his War on Poverty, a monster that matched its twin, LBJ’s War on Vietnam.

      Both wars ginned up by LBJ, alone and severally, have been disasters. They’ve maimed whole generations and cultures of Americans right up to today, all smothered by our welfare state and its spiraling entitlements, grievances, and tribal wars started by LBJ and ginned up by corrupt politicians ever since, corrupting higher education, pitting groups of American’s one against other, all of us headed at an ever quicker pace into oblivion. Blackface Norton now is pushing more toxic drugs out of the same Devil’s Brew, for his private benefit at public cost. The harm he and his cronies inflict on Virginians will be incalculable.

  5. Living in a county that recently became a 2nd amendment sanctuary… with record breaking attendance in support at the supervisors meeting… when its hard to get folks to show up for zoning meetings, etc… it sadly occured to me that most of these folks don’t realize they’re being outflanked in the battle for their life, liberty and property.

  6. If it’s OK to create a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, including those who commit crimes (just ask the new Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney), why is it wrong to establish a 2nd Amendment sanctuary? Why do some people get to decide what laws should be enforced but not others?

    I plan to write my state legislators and ask what amount of money for these new spending programs and enhancements will be returned to Fairfax County.

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