Read the Bills Act Coalition

Monday, July 27, 2009

highlight from Saturday's gubernatorial debate

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins today highlighted the "greatest hits" from Saturday's gubernatorial debate, in which Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds clearly left an increase in taxes on the table. At the first gubernatorial debate hosted by the Virginia Bar Association, Deeds repeatedly left open the possibility that he would seek higher taxes on Virginians to fund his amorphous wish list of a transportation plan...."I'll tell you what I'm not going to do," Deeds said during the debate. "A lot of options are going to be on the table. I'm not going to presume what will and won't pass the General Assembly." ....Following the debate, Deeds was pressed by the media and again refused to rule out an increase in taxes for road improvements, but would provide no further details of his plan for infrastructure or funding. Watch the video here.....

Washington Post

"[Deeds] essentially asked voters to trust that he would succeed where others have failed: persuading the state legislature to cooperate. His strategy seems to be to imply strongly that he would raise taxes -- there are ‘a lot of options,' he said, wink, wink -- without saying so directly."

Washington Post

"‘He's got a wish list. He doesn't have a plan,' McDonnell said, at one point even urging debate watchers to visit Deeds's Web site so they could see for themselves.

"Deeds said after the debate that putting forward a funding plan would be a ‘lightning rod' that would kill reform."

Roanoke Times:

"But when McDonnell asked him whether he would increase taxes, Deeds was evasive.

"‘A lot of options are going to be on the table,' Deeds said. ‘I'm not going to presume what will or will not pass the General Assembly next year.'

"McDonnell hammered on Deeds' answer, telling the Democrat: ‘You don't have a plan. You haven't suggested one dime.'

"Pressed further on the issue by reporters after the debate, Deeds said: ‘I'm running for governor, I'm not running for dictator.'

"‘A specific funding source would be a lightning rod,' Deeds said. ‘I'm not prepared to throw up any lightning rods.'

"McDonnell said he would not raise taxes, saying, ‘I don't think the people of Virginia could sustain another tax increase.'"

Staunton News Leader:

"Following the debate, Deeds said he is ‘open to a lot of different options' to fund new transportation projects and would not explicitly rule out taxes as one of those methods."

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

"Deeds said he would make transportation his top priority and he refused to rule out a tax increase. He said all options would be on the table when he calls a special session next year."

"All this puts Mr. Deeds in a particularly tight spot," said Chairman Mullins. "Does he try to get all the way from July to November with his ‘no comment' policy and just hope no one asks him any more questions about transportation, the issue he says is the most important one facing Virginia? Or does he reveal what everyone knows to be his true intention: to raise taxes on hard working Virginians during the worst economic period we have seen in decades. That's his call to make. Even if he won't say it, his record makes clear what he's going to do. Wink, wink."

A side-by-side comparison of the two candidates' proposals for transportation reveals that the McDonnell plan is comprehensive and includes funding mechanisms that do not rely on any tax increases at all. The Deeds "plan," by contrast, is nothing more than some vague platitudes with no mention of how the wish list might be funded.

The McDonnell Plan

Privatize Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and dedicate proceeds to transportation
Pass legislation to capture increased revenue from growth in port operations, and invest in regional transportation projects
Take percentage of sales tax collected in Northern Virginia and put in regional transportation account
Issue $3 billion in available bonds for transportation, and support future bond issuance of $1 billion for highly congested areas
Expand 70mph speed limit, currently only allowed on stretches of Interstate 85 in southern Virginia, to sections of other interstates in Commonwealth
Dedicate percentage of new revenue growth to transportation
Spend 75% of future surplus funds on transportation
Dramatically expand Public-Private Partnership agreements for major priority projects
Protect Transportation Trust Fund
Audit VDOT to find and eliminate waste and inefficiencies; Seek greater autonomy from time-consuming federal regulations
Seek federal approval for use of 2nd and 3rd year stimulus dollars for transportation projects now
Support HOT lanes
Enact border tolling of traffic coming into Virginia from North Carolina along I-85 and I-95
Dedicate percentage of revenue from future offshore drilling to transportation
Prioritize transportation projects. Top of list: Widen I-66 in and out of Beltway; Complete, within budget and on time, rail to Dulles; Complete I-495 and I-395/95 HOT Lane Projects; Upgrade Route 460; Find consensus for Third Crossing and move forward; Build High Speed Passenger Rail; Improve I-81; Coalfields Expressway Completion
Provide telework tax credits
Create bipartisan transportation task force, led by former governors and congressmen, to evaluate Virginia's transportation system and propose improvements
Employ smart traffic technologies, light synchronization and new traffic management systems
The Deeds "Plan"

"During his first year in office, Creigh will make it his top priority to find a workable, creative transportation solution." (Deeds economic development plan)

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