Those Mean, Mean Delegates

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is hopping mad at the House of Delegates for stripping $22 million in earmarked projects for everything from day care in Charlottesville to sewage overflow in Lynchburg. He stumped the state yesterday to generate some ink castigating the House GOP for petty partisanship and… how else do I put it… for being mean. Daily Progress reporter Bob Gibson covered the Governor’s stop in Charlottesville at a day care center:

Kaine said his budget amendment would have provided child daycare scholarship money to keep working families on the job and off welfare. One mother told him she would have to stay home with children and not hold a job if daycare scholarship funds were not available.

Making mothers go back on welfare. Mean, mean, mean!

How else can you describe a General Assembly that approved a miserly $34 billion biennial General Fund budget, which, according to a June 30 press release from the Governor’s office, included (my words in parentheses):

  • Record funding for K-12 education, including a four percent pay raise for teachers, and more than $1.5 billion in overall funding increases;
  • A $200 million investment in the Chesapeake Bay (mostly for waste-water treatment plants);
  • More than $40 million in investments in early childhood programs, including the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, additional investments in the At-Risk Four Year Old Program, and addressing the waiting list for young children needing waiver slots…
  • More than $120 million invested in community mental health and mental retardation care, including additional waiver slots for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and innovative services to serve people in the community rather than in institutions;
  • Funding for construction of a new Eastern State Hospital and planning funds for replacement of three other mental health and mental retardation facilities (Western State Hospital, Central Virginia Training Center, and Southeastern Virginia Training Center).

I’m sorry, but if that Charlottesville daycare center were truly a priority, Gov. Kaine could have found a few thousand dollars from among the multi-millions in other spending he approved.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


13 responses to “Those Mean, Mean Delegates”

  1. Pasteur Avatar

    But Mr. Bacon, the amendment that the House rejected on money for the Lynchburg sewage improvements would stop the overflow of their sewage into the James River, a source of Richmond’s drinking water. Oh well, if you’re not concerned about hygene for yourself, far be it for me to try to look after it for you.

    Curiously, I beieve the budget did cover some money for the same problem in the City of Richmond.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Pasteur, I love clear rivers. The James is a recreation area for Richmonders. But the Governor and General Assembly have already approved $200 million for waste-water treatment in the new budget. That’s a record commitment. The state can’t do everything right away. Some projects simply will have to wait.

  3. Insider Avatar

    Amen, Jim. You’re right.

    None of this spending was offered at all during the actual session.

    If it was that important, Kaine should’ve had it in the original budget.

  4. Pasteur Avatar

    Richmond’s appropriation wasn’t rejected by the House, Lynchburg’s was…You can do the math.

    But hey that’s okay…if you can drink it–it’s fine with me. As for me, I’m bringing bottled water on my next visit to the “Holy City.”

  5. Pasteur Avatar

    Oh yes,and by the way the $200 million waste water appropriation you mentioned was for the entire Chesapeake Bay catchment area…that’s a lot more than the James River.

  6. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Our local treatment plants’ discharge are already clean — low odor, no bacteria, no cloudiness, and low soluables produce no additional algae. Nonetheless, new DEQ mandates are forcing upgrades.

    The new goal is discharge so clean that non-water constituent can barely be measured. Monitoring these lower levels is on the bleeding edge of technology. (Whether any of this will have the least effect on the Bay is another subject)

    Financing for these required upgrades is local, though some jurisdictions qualify for some partial direct grants.

    So why is it that Richmond (or Lynchburg) needs direct state funding, when other jurisdictions have to use local tax revenue?

  7. Pasteur Avatar

    I’ve wondered that myself on more than one occaision. It would seem that Richmond gets a lot more state money than it desrves…but I digress and that’s another story.

    The line on the waste water treatment money for Richmond and Lynchburg is that they are older cities and have much older and extensive systems. These are the two largest municipalities on the James until it widens in eastern Virginia (and has the advantage of the cleasening effect of the tides). It will cost much more to upgrade and replace these sewage systems. As a result (they say) special assistance is needed (and has been given in the past).

    But answer this: Without regard to the merits of the foregoing, how come Richmond got theirs but Lynchburg didn’t? Seems a tad inconsistent? Again, you can do the math.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Insider, you’re on the outside here. Both CSOs were in the introduced budget and the subject of the regular budget conference.

    The other items were made possible becase the budget was put to bed in June, not March. New money was “found” from unexpected lottery profits and interest rates. In a “normal” year they would have turned up as part of the end of year surplus.

    Jim Patrick and Pasteur, Richmond and Lynchburg have these projects funded in part by the state because a consent decree was agreed to by the cities and the state with the feds back in the ’80.s. By the way, Lynchburg has the highest water rates in the state.

    Jim Bacon, this thread is further evidence of why the title should have read “Those Dumb, Dumb Delegates.” What in the world political benefit is gained by denying funds for clear water and day care to pave almost no roads? All pain, no gain. Look at the hit Albo took in today’s WaPo.

  9. Anon- You miss the major point of the entire session for House, which is to make the Governor look weak and ineffectual so that he does not develop into the next 800 pound political gorilla, a la Mark Warner. Policy is a secondary concern behind right wing Republican political posturing.

  10. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Anonymous: So you’re claiming my money’s needed —this year, those two cities— for a 1980s consent decree? Gimme a break.

    In case you’ve been out of the state the last decade, most of Virginia’s jurisdictions are under consent decrees. [Jim, this is where I need to insert my own “Mo Money!” demands. Haha.]

    Pasteur: What’s needed is some responsibility, like Richmond and Lynchburg fixing their own systems. Not being enviro-welfare queens at the rest of the state’s expense.

    Both should have be cut from the state budget; but I’ll be happy to settle for half this time. Maybe next budget they’ll make it fair to all residents and cut both.

    Claiming Lynchburg should get money because Richmond did, ‘two wrongs is better than one‘, appears to be your sole position. Don’t be surprised that you get no sympathy from the rest of the state.

  11. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Anonymous said… “By the way, Lynchburg has the highest water rates in the state.

    This mind-boggling li… uh, I mean inaccuracy, is quickly shot down.

    Lynchburg rates are $1.89 per 100 cu ft, or $2.53 per 1000 gallons. Roanoke Rapids is 28% higer, Henry County is 58% more, Charlottesville water costs up to 130% more, and the nearest authority to me charges almost twice Lynchburg’s!

    The average water rate in Virginia is over 50% higher than Lynchburg charges. It wouldn’t be that Lynchburg is giving away the service, then expecting state taxpayers to pony up the difference?

    Anonymous aught to be ashamed of themselves; calling our Delegates “dumb” after posting self-serving tripe.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Estimates to complete the CSO work for Lynchburg are in the $300 million range – Lynchburg will be polluting the James for at least 20 more years.

    The problem has existed since the 1800’s.

    The Democrats have been framing this as $3.75 million will stop the flow of “raw sewage” into the James/Chesapeake. Misleading sound bites when an overall perspective is needed.

    Valentine is using “raw sewage” for self-promotion. She is suddenly well known across the state, the Democrats have a new campaign sound bite, and she will play the sympathy card for a gullible public.

  13. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    I strongly agree with Jim Patrick — state taxpayers should not be funding either Richmond or Lynchburg’s local problems. Or, at least, not until state taxpayers fully fund an expanded wastewater treatment system for Fairfax County. Somehow, I don’t expect any big checks heading north.

Leave a Reply