Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Post's May 31 endorsement of Jody Wagner in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor stated that she "helped extricate Virginia from the risky fiscal policies of former governor Jim Gilmore." This deserves a response.
As governor, I did not exercise "risky fiscal policies." My administration created nearly 200,000 jobs, enhanced the technology industry and began rebuilding the Wilson Bridge and Springfield Interchange. We added 4,000 teachers and dramatically increased the budget of George Mason University. We put $1 billion into the rainy-day fund and delivered the car tax cut.
Compare that record with the performance of Govs. Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine and former Finance Secretary Wagner. In 2002, Mr. Warner and Ms. Wagner declared a $6 billion shortfall that independent journalists say never existed. Mr. Warner and Ms. Wagner later underestimated revenue and forced a $1.4 billion tax increase. Two months after this tax increase passed, they discovered no deficit but a $1.1 billion surplus. In 2007, Ms. Wagner reported a shortfall of $200 million to $400 million in the state budget. She had overestimated revenue. In 2008, revenue was overstated by $1 billion to justify more spending.
The biennial budget has ballooned from $51 billion in 2002 to $77 billion today. In October 2008, Business Week magazine listed Virginia as one of "twenty states that can't pay for themselves." In December, the Kaine administration projected a $2.9 billion shortfall, which became a $3.7 billion shortfall. This is the fiscal mismanagement the Post endorsement recommends.
In contrast, my administration delivered a car tax cut, with bipartisan support, that has helped millions of Virginians. But this tax cut has been a burr under the saddle of liberals for 11 years.
It's time for liberals to put up or shut up. Why don't they just reimpose the car tax if they truly believe it was "risky fiscal policy"?