Read the Bills Act Coalition

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cox sets the record straight on Warner

From Delegate Kirk Cox n OP-ED piece that appeared in the Progress-Index

Money can’t change the facts about Warner’s record
By Delegate Kirk Cox

Mark Warner has raised a lot of money and is using it to bombard TV screens trying to rewrite history. His message – you can depend on him for good fiscal management because I turned a budget deficit I inherited from my predecessor into a budget surplus and saved Virginia! Send me to Washington, where I will do the same! – doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

I served on the House Appropriations Committee during Mark Warner’s term as governor. Here are the facts he would like you to forget.

Virginia is a balanced budget state. The General Assembly must pass and the governor must sign a balanced budget. Warner’s predecessor, Gov. Jim Gilmore, submitted a final budget that was balanced as required by Virginia’s Constitution.

It was only two years later that Mark Warner decided he needed to raise taxes because he did not have enough taxpayers’ money to spend.

A recent Warner TV commercial claims he cut spending, but state budgets rose 24.7 percent during his term. State spending in the Gilmore years rose at a much slower pace.

Mark Warner was able to manage spending increases by raising taxes, while Gov. Gilmore worked to reduce your car tax by 70 percent. Mark Warner actually promised to get rid of the car tax completely while governor. Just another fact he tries to keep from voters.

Mark Warner does have one true claim to fame – he raised our taxes $1.3 billion, the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

While running for governor, Mark Warner repeatedly promised Virginians there would be NO tax increases. Many times he said, “I will not raise taxes; I will not raise taxes!”

Based on his record in Richmond, Virginians now know we can depend on Mark Warner to help raise taxes if he gets to Washington.

Mark Warner also talks a lot about his ability to manage Virginia’s finances. He “managed” by raising our taxes and spending more. The facts show that administrative inaccuracies and misrepresentations by his administration went hand-in hand with his tax hikes.

In early 2004, he claimed there was a huge budget shortfall – as much as $1 billion. But by May, it was obvious Gov. Warner was rushing the General Assembly to enact his tax hike before his administration released new numbers showing large state revenue increases. Less than two months after his tax increase budget passed, Virginia ended fiscal year 2004 with a $324 million surplus!

Facts don’t lie.

By June 2005, the Commonwealth finished fiscal year 2005 with another surplus of $545 million. In December 2005, Gov. Warner yet again revised the 2004-2006 revenue forecast by adding another $1.4 billion.

The cumulative increase over Warner’s original budget forecast (excluding his $1.3 billion tax increase) was $2.8 billion in revenue growth.

In June 2006, the Commonwealth completed fiscal year 2006 with another surplus of $147 million.

In total, between 2004 and 2006 state revenues grew by $3.8 billion – or 211% over the original Warner (mis)forecast of December 2003.

His “good” management forecast – being off by a whopping 211 percent – laid the foundation for his $1.3 billion tax increase so he could increase spending by 24.7 percent during his term as Governor.

Because of this “inconvenient truth,” Mark Warner has raised lots of money from those who benefited from tax increases and is now investing those dollars in TV ads that try to change the facts. His pledge to go to Washington to work in a bipartisan manner will likely be as valid as his broken promise, “I will not raise taxes!”

No matter his claims, he will have constant pressure from the far left to do away with the Bush tax cuts and support government-run universal health care. The first vote Mark Warner would cast as a senator would be for Harry Reid or worse as Senate Majority Leader. He also would support every big-government, high-spending Democrat chairman from Barbara Boxer and Robert Byrd on down.

Jim Gilmore kept his word as governor as he fought to reduce our taxes. Jim Gilmore will do what he promises.

Send Jim Gilmore to Washington to put his tax cutting and strong national security background to work for the people of Virginia.


Kirk Cox is a Virginia Delegate from the 66th District, which includes Colonial Heights. He is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

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