McDonnell and Saslaw clash over road funding
Governor Bob McDonnell wants Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to keep a portion of their sales tax to use for local transportation projects, though some critics say that will hurt other core services ... and Delegate Bob Marshall wants Virginia to be prepared to produce its own currency, should the Federal Reserve collapse.
Governor McDonnell’s proposal would set aside .25 percent of the discretionary sales tax generated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to fund local road-building projects. This would total to about 150 million dollars that would otherwise go to the state’s general fund.
Senator Dick Saslaw of Fairfax is the Majority Leader of the Democrat-controlled chamber. He says general fund dollars should be off limits, as they fund the state’s other core responsibilities.
Saslaw: We’re not taking money from the General Fund and spending it on transportation. What are we going to do? Are we going to take it out of K-12? It’s just simply not gonna happen, and it ain’t coming out of committee. Any appropriation of money needs 21 votes. This is absurd. Why doesn’t he just say we’ll take the income tax and spend it ‘cause that’s what you’re doing. When you take General Fund money, sixty percent of anything that comes out of the General Fund is income tax. It’s a shell game. We’re not gonna do it. Tell him to raise the taxes.
Governor McDonnell disagrees.
McDonnell: That’s always the argument people make and I don’t buy it. I believe in job creation, revenue growth, the power of the free enterprise system, the success rate of the entrepreneur. That's what I believe in.
I think that what we need to do in some of those areas, like Medicaid, that have grown 1600 percent over 27 years, other programs that essentially have a blank check, is to fix those. Bring more accountability, bring spending restraint. It’s what everybody up here, Democrat and Republican, did last session. We made tough decisions, we reduced spending to 2006 levels and we ended up with a fiscal 10 surplus.
I am confident that if we dedicate a very small amount, 150 million is 1 percent of the general fund, to transportation. Especially this year alone, when we have about 700 million dollars of new money that the General Assembly has not appropriated yet, from surplus, from revenue growth, from 200 million dollars in cuts that I made, that we will provide that revenue in the future that this very small ongoing investment in transportation makes sense.
There're going to be some, maybe in both parties, that don't like the idea, and I say to them, if they want to turn down 150 million dollars for transportation in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, then that's a decision they will make and answer their constituents.
Republican Delegate Bob Marshall of Prince William is proposing a contingency plan that would authorize Virginia to mint gold and silver coins in the event of a collapse of the Federal Reserve.
Marshall: To get what I’m not doing, this is not printing money. The authority for legal tender, which is a honored medium of exchange, is granted, recognized by the states. If the Federal Reserve collapses, the only institutions that are big enough to deal with this are government ones and the only government ones are states, I mean you’ve got counties but that’s just out of the question. Madison talks about,actually in Federalist Paper 44, he condemns the paper money that was issued in the interim between 1776 and 1787 as problematic. So the very thing he criticizes there, the Congress is now doing with the Federal Reserve and again, at that time, you have to remember, tobacco and other things were considered money, so by doing it, they put a restriction on what could happen. Issuance of money is an attribute of sovereignty. So clearly, the feds had to have that over the states, but they didn’t get rid of all ability for the states to require certain payments in gold or silver. So all I’m doing is, if the Federal Reserve fails, the states need to consider, can we construct an economic lifeboat for financial survival? So this is serious because we’re in serious economic times and I don’t see interest coming from Washington.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square