Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is it with Democrat Governors Exactly?

With the recent news that Gov. Tim Kaine will now take the position at the DNC that he once said would not be an option, Virginians are faced with its own version of a lame duck Executive. This really isn't any more lame than would have been expected given this November Virginians will determine its new future as it elects a new Governor- and hopefully a new direction.

I say new direction only because it appears as though there has been a national trend as of late with regard to Democrats residing in Executive Mansions across the country. Here of course, Virginia faces potentially a 3 billion dollar shortfall to its annual budget suffered at the hands of two back to back Democrat Governors. Of course, there is zero accountability taken for such a shortfall and many leftyblogs are quick to blame House Republicans for the dire state of our budget. Not surprising given as of late Republicans are the target of blame for everything it seems, eventhough the State's top executives have been Democrats for the past seven years. Everything from taxes to transportation woes have been put at the feet of the GOP by Democrats seeking to remove any responsibility they share in the matter-and admittedly it was Democrats who reversed Gov. Kaines own abuser fee remedy that leftyblogs across the State were so enraged over as a means to address transportation funding.

But what is it about Democrat and Governorships lately. A look at the most of the States in dire straits right now seem to all, with the exception of Republican-lite run California, be run by Democrats. take a quick look at tax rates and unemployment rates to get a picture of Democrat ideology and policy at work:

State: Unemployment Tax rate Gas tax Sales Tax
Michigan 9.6% 4.5 36.2 6%
Illinois 7.3% 3%FedAGI 40.0 6.25%
Ohio 7.3% 6.55% 28.0 5.5
Oregon 8.1% 9% 25.0 -
North Carolina 7.9% 7.75 30.o 4.25
Rhode Island 9.3% -federal 31.0 7%
District 8.0% 8.5%
New Jersey 6.1% 8.97% 14.5 7%
Vermont 5.7% 9.5% 20.0 6.0
Maine 6.3 8.5 29.5 5.0

Why is it that States like Illinois have the highest levels of taxation on its citizens and yet its government operates at such an ineffective level? What are they doing with all the tax reveue they garner from citizens? It can be no coincidence that Democrats at the State level must be authorizing tremondous spending to require such levels of taxation on consumers and yet those States taxing heavily also seem to be prone to have higher Unemployment rates. Is this because tax policy is in effect anti-business as well?

Many here in Virginia always point to Gov. Warner, now our newly elected Senator, as being a great job creator, but in reality those jobs arrived in the Commonwealth as a direct result of lower taxes and lower costs of living relative to other States, especially the Northeast. Business could relocate here and still have access to the I-95 corridor to the Northeast. Warner is certainly not responsible for the tax rates that brought business to NOVA, but he is responsible for his actions to raise such taxes while in office.

So, do Democrat Governors not undersatand that the higher your tax rates, whether income, sales, gas or even cigarette the greater downward pressure these leaders place on creating wealth in their State and jump starting business growth and jobs. Why should any business right now relocate to Michigan, even though there is a pool of workers available with the highest unemployment in the country when the State is run in the manner in which it is and its public schools in Detriot are some of the worst in the nation?

The Republicans across the country had better get their act together in consort to inform the public just how much these Democrat leaders are hurting not only their State's vitality but also each citizens wallet. What has been the return brought these citizens by their tax dollars in these States?

If increasing taxes is always the answer for Democrats to meet their spending programs then Republicans must offer a fiscally conservative approach to governance and offer a drastic cut in spending measures and promote balanced budgets and be fiscally responsible. The National Republicans failed in this manner, but State Republicans can rebound and rebuild the Party brand by simply pointing to the little achievement earned by Democrat policy brought about by these Governors.

Many folks always appear very hesitant when you challenge a budget. Folks get really concerned that something they care about may show up on the chopping block and those things that they do not perceive as warranted they will simply will endorse being cut, but have any of us really ever looked deep inside the budget to begin with.

For example, if I were to have to make cuts....and that exactly what this government SHOULD be doing, we have to start with the billion pound gorilla in the room and take on the Education budget. No, I am not talking about going after Kaine's pre-k program beacuse I think in the grand scheme of things its warranted and justified, but the billions we are spending at the College level is adsurd. Having a public school system for elementary and secondary education comes with its tax dollar support requirements to be sure, but we pay those taxes and then pay roughly 13,000 per year to send our children to college and yet our Government continues to spend billions at these Universities.

For 2009/2010 (remember Virginia runs a two year budget):
VCU: 687 million
UVA: 850 million
VA Tech 784 million
JMU 324 million
Community College System: 680 million

These are but a few of the colleges tapping into the State budgets "Education" section over the next two years and this does not even really count the so-called Non-General Fund funding for these endeavors. So in essence folks your paying twice; first the tuition and room and board and then your tax dollars generated from taxes are used to fund these schools whose Tuition Rates continue to rise in direct correlation to the increases in State funding.

I would much ratehr prefer the State concentrate in elemenatry/secondary funding as the bulk of its Education funding but even Direct Aid is still way too high and blouted when compared to other States. I would recommend a line be drawn in the sand on salary increases and freeze any additional funding projects not already in the process at end of 2009. That means that the State should not fund new projects of construction; remember the State must also insure through Risk Management all of these facilities at State schools that it builds or expands at these schools. That again taps tax payer dollars.

Ask yourself. Does VCU need to get any bigger? We have seen tremondous growth under Dr. Trani in Richmond, but at this point does Virginia need to continue expanding at tax payer expense the University's continued expansion given it is already the largest commuter school in the State it seems. I understand that MCV Hospitals is part of the VCU Health System and needs to be addressed, but the funding for continued projects at the Academic campus during these times must be frozen as well as at UVA and other Universities. Afterall, does it do any good to fund programs so extensively that in the marketplace compete against one another? Is that not what these schools/colleges are doing? Do they not compete for enrollment. If a campus has greater capacity; should that not drive DOWN the costs of attendence given the availibility of greater access? The more and more the State funds Colleges/Universities growth the higher the costs have become across the board.

Both Education and Depart of Social Services have ballooned in the last ten years. This cannot be a coincidence that during the last seven years or so a Democrat has been our Executive. Thats not to say that Republicans do not care about these things, I just think that there are more political threads at work here than people want to admit. It smacks of simply rewarding those segments that contributed to a Party's success. Social Services, while certainly noble, has entered the billion range of funding and the more programs apparently require that much more "administration" requiring extensive government payrolls and benefit expenses.

In short, the size of Government continues to expand in size and scope with every increase in the State Budget.

Hard choices are on the horizon folks. Hard choices. Maybe just maybe come November, Virginians will realize that this experiment under Warner and Kaine has simply just been too costly to bear and a new future must materialize in 2010.

10 comments:

James said...

It is a difference in values. Some of these Democrats project what money they will have coming in and then go about proposing means to spend it instead of knowing whjat they need to have to spend and making sure they have that amount coming in.
In 2009, are there really that mnay "new" programs that are required that we must have? How often are we enacting things that are merely kickbacks to groups; was not pre-k merely a measure to yet again reward the NEA for its contributions?

Joe said...

Alter-
They will never allow Kaine to cut Education. Its the bedrock of the Party loyalty program. The fact that they are allowed to run ruff shot over government is ridiculous as they act as if the are above the current crisis and should have to make zero cuts; the NEA that is who lobbies for teachers but not for "education".
I agree there needs to be concentrated focus on early education and elementary but the post secondary expenses always fly below the radar. I guess given the numbers we now know why.

Anonymous said...

While you may be cherry picking some States in your analysis you do make some very valid points.

Spending has been out of control throughout many States and was certainly brought about buy the collapse of the number of Republican Governors.

Georgia I would say would be the exception, having gone Republican for the first time in a long while for Governor. They have quickly attempted to address some of the woes there.

The Republicans still must offer something different and fine tune the message. They must understand the climate and not bring in the social conservative agenda and stick to the fiscal agenda to right the ship in Virginia. Afterall, this is why Kilgore was defeated. The message must be about reviving the economy through tax cuts and redcution in spending. Its not flashy, but real change never is.

Anonymous said...

It is rather striking hoiw so many of those in trouble are run from the left.

It demonstrates the core belief the left has in what government should be and provide.

Governance at the State level appears easier to draw distinction these days between the Parties than the natinal scene does IMHO.

LoudounDem said...

I do believe that Republicans have there own cross to bear for sure. They manage to let a great opportunity get away since 2000 domestically while payin concentrated attention to terror. I do not discount that endeavor, but the eye was taken off the ball here at home and we are paying the price and no one more so than the States.
I believe taxes will rise in the coming years, especially in the Northeast and another wave of migration will result to the southern seaboard States.
It baffles me how many new residents in NOVA I meet from the Northeast or Midwest and even more so that most of them are liberals or at the very least moderate Democrats.
This is the true course Virginia will be taking in the coming years. People are not switching sides but there has been a an influx of new residents tipping the scales.
These citizens believe that government should be the "provider" as Alter alludes and should provide everything from health care to social services to education and to do so for all people requires more and more revenue.
It is the traditional big government v. small government battle in the end and we all must decide exactly what our thresold is frankly.

Lucks Lane said...

All states really need to look at the modern university system.

Some professors bust their rear while many seem to think thay are at a country club.

The first two year's of undergraduate courses can easily be taken online or in a community college style setting.

On the the local level-

The state should fund a basic salary for teachers and a fixed number of principals. Facilities, adm, and upgraded salaries shoyld be the responsibilty of the locality.

I will let loose when this blog addresses the CCPS budget screw-ups.

Happy and a more prosperous new year to all.

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