Virginia transportation funding

Regional transportation tax referendums are a big issue… At first, I really didn’t like the Kilgore idea, but have changed my mind.

Commonwealth Watch, Poli Amatuer, has posted a good analysis of the debates and the issue of referendums…Commonwealth Watch

The Blue Dog agrees: Republican Kilgore is right. Democrat Kaine is wrong not to trust the people. And Independent Potts is living in an alternative pro-tax universe.

But truth is, the real issue in 2005 is a funding source for Virginia transportation needs.

Kilgore = tax referendums for transportation
Potts = new, or increase taxes for transportation
Kaine = transportation lockbox: in other words, absolutely nothing, but…

In the weekend debate, Kaine claimed the title of ‘heir’ to the Warner tax-increasing legacy.

Since fuel prices have increased so dramatically in the past two years, candidate Tim Kaine ‘probably’ backed away from his initial suggestions of a ‘Gas Tax’ increase for transportation needs. That would have been the ‘kiss of death’ in the 2005 Gubernatorial campaign.

In Sunday’s Outlook section, WaPo pundit Gordon Morse criticized both the Kaine and Kilgore campaign for “No Pay. No Plan. No Go in Virginia.”

Morse wrote, “Somehow that message needs to get across to Virginia road users: not free. But don’t count on our leading gubernatorial candidates — Republican Jerry Kilgore and Democrat Tim Kaine — to post the notice.”

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    In a move that shocked both citizens and pundits statewide (and parts of Rockingham and Augusta Counties) Web columnist Steven “the Bluedog” Sisson has gone on record with support of candidate Jerry Kilgore’s plan to put every major decision to a referendum because “I trust the people, always have, always will.”

    Jubilant mobs throng the streets statewide firing joyously into the air in celebration. Meanwhile police have moved to prevent despondent Kaine supporters attempts to throw themselves from buildings in despair. “It’s all over now that the famous Bluedog has spoken!” shrieked one devastated dem as she leapt to her horrible demise.

    “Who ever would have seen this coming?” “I’m like totally in like shock!” have been common expressions of disbelief as demoralized Kaine supporters seek comfort in each others company.

    Governor Warner vainly attempted to call out the Virginia National Guard to restore order throughout the state but most Guardsmen/women are in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Special operations police in Richmond are currently in negotiations with Democratic Candidate Timothy Kaine to bring him back from the ledge at his campaign headquarters.

    In a related situation, there is now apparently a run on “Bluedog” boxers and g-strings threatening to overload the factory output from Bangladesh.

    Barns and Nubile have reported record pre-sales of the eagerly anticipated “Bluedog Tails.” People have been standing in line for days after this morning’s announcement!” exclaimed Cheri Bloomhanger, manager of the local store.

    Adoring fans surround the “NeverGraceland Ranch” in eastern Rockingham County awaiting the next pronouncement or just a glimpse of the great sage who calls himself…

  2. TheModerate Avatar

    The concept of a referendum is a good idea.

    However, let’s be realistic. Once political consultants and PR firms get involved, the issues will polarize a locality and allow elected officials to bury their heads in the sand to avoid making tough decisions on issues.

    Remember the Northern Virginia tax referendum of 2002? Anyone know how much was spent on both sides of that issue to “educate” voters?

    In addition, to see what referendums will do just look at California where everything is on the ballot. It would truly be the beginning of the end of the Commonwealth as we know it.

    If Kilgore is elected and his referendum scheme is implemented, I am going into a new line of work. I will be, “The Moderate Consultant.”

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    If polititcians were anything like willing to take tough stands on the issues, I would agree. Instead they bury their head in the sand while trying to divine public opinion as presented by the public interests which make the most noise.

    If we want to do what is best for the common wealth, then what is wrong with having the common citizen have a direct say in the issues that affect him? Sure, special interests will mobilize to “educate” the citizenry, but what is wrong with that? I would rather have them doing that than have them trying to “educate” our politicians with campaign contributions. For one thing, they are unlikely to pull the wool over the eyes of the entire public, for another it is harder to make a catastrophic mistake if more people contribute to the decision.

    Consider what happened in Oregon last year. Strong and well funded special interest groups spent a lot of money educating people to their view of things conerning Measure 37; views which the people rejected 60/40 in favor of common sense, fairness, and a partial rejection of overbearing central government.

    New technology and other social factors mean that now is the time to let the people run the government and the politicians administer it. Maybe people would be more interested in government if they thought their input might actually count.

  4. I don’t have much of a problem with a referendum. But I find this “I trust the people” rhetoric very condescending…

  5. Steven Avatar

    Hey Doug… Give it a rest. All is forgiven. So please stop the personal attacks.

    How about commenting on the need for Virginia transportation funding? And the candidates positions?

    I personally like the idea of regional transportation initiatives by referendum, because Virginia transportation challenges are different throughout the state. The bottlenecks in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads need to be sorted out between those citizens most affected. The cost will be high and the burden must rest on those who use the roadways.

    Law enforcement and safety issues are my transportation priority. Because I reside on a country road where dump trucks travel way too fast to the local quarry and teenagers drag race at night.

    What are your local transportation challenge?

    ~ the blue dog

    Sorry for the last deletion, but I really need to start proofing these post

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    How can you both demand new taxes for transportation AND complain about the surplus? Is the solution that we rebate the surplus and then re-tax all over again to pay for the roads? Bizarre the sort of logic necessary to try and attack your opponents…

    Localized California-like circuses for road planning would be a disaster. Everyone knows that special refferenda are a bizarre slice of voters rather than anything to do with the public will, and regardless, it’s hard to see how the people are going to magically solve the major problems (like mismanagement and poor long term planning) simply by voting. Voters should vote in the people who’ll do the best job in figuring out the intricacies of the problems, not vote on some goofy broad plan or another simply because it reduces to a great slogan.

  7. Steven Avatar

    Err, anon … wait a second.

    Surplus rebate: Yes, … yes indeed.

    And I fully support TABOR legislation in Virginia.

    Transportation referendum: Yes.

    I say, let the people decide in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads about the roadwork. But given the opportunity as a rural resident of the state, I would probably vote for NO to increased taxes.

    The dirt road is the slow country drive to increased urban development.

    ~ the blue dog

  8. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Sure, let the people in Hampton Roads and NOVA decide about the road network and pay for it themselves: they already paid for the Richmond Beltway, the road to nowhere and lord knows what else.

    The young woman said to her aging lover, I got mine, where’s yours?

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