McDonnell Embraces “Half-baked” Bushonomics

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    In his eight years in the White House, George W. Bush led the federal government into an economic crisis created by letting business do whatever it wanted, spending vast amounts of borrowed money on two unfunded wars and putting in place tax cuts that did nothing to create jobs as was promised but lined the pockets of the already-wealthy and gave the federal government a structural deficit. Now, all of Washington is consumed with a national debt that threatens the long-term fiscal health of our nation.

    Here in Virginia, Bob McDonnell knows quite well that we have an ongoing transportation crisis in the state, one that is responsible for the gridlocked roads in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, a growing backlog of transportation maintenance that needs to be done, and the prospect that Virginia won’t have the money to qualify for federal matching funds. His solution is straight out of the Bushonomics handbook: Borrow massive amounts of money, spend it now, absolutely refuse to look for revenue sources, and kick fiscal responsibility to the next generation.

    Amazingly, McDonnell told a transportation conference at the Hotel Roanoke that he has a “plan” to fix Virginia’s road crisis, one that relies on massive bond sales, spending money held by VDOT to pay contracts in a timely fashion, and committing the General Assembly to spend whatever fiscal surpluses might appear in the future on building roads. Never mind if the state needs to pay back money already borrowed from the state pension fund, return to a reasonable funding of colleges and universities, increase education funding, end the shortchanging of other social services, etc.

    According to the Roanoke Times, here’s the outline of McDonnell’s ridiculous “plan.”

    The plan envisions selling more than $2.9 billion in new bonds. Officials would allocate $400 million in already-identified surplus state money to loans, loan guarantees and grants to local governments strapped for road dollars. To garner the other $700 million, the governor mentioned the possibility of future surpluses and whatever money the state would make if it privatizes state-owned liquor stores.

    I heartily agree with Del. Ward Armstrong (D-Henry County), who ridiculed the “plan” as one that “is just the latest in a long line of irresponsible and half-baked ideas that fail to address our core problem of generating a long-term sustainable source of funding for our transportation needs.”

    As Jeff Southard, executive vice president of the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance, said, unless McDonnell proposes a new source of transportation revenue, “we’ve done nothing but kick the can down the road.”  

    • It’s amazing to me, and highly revealing, that Bob McDonnell is actually talked about in Republican ranks as a future prospect for higher office. So far, as governor of Virginia, he’s accomplished…uh….uh….uh…

    • Teddy Goodson

      is time-honored political tactics, but unfortunately there is always a bill at the end of the road. Almost every state in the Union is facing awesome budget deficits, and will be in even deeper kimchee next year when the federal government will no longer be providing stimulus money, which rescued the states this year.

      McDonnell’s lame plan, hoping for “possible” surplusses under some future Governor, and hoping for money from selling the ABC stores (hahaha) is utterly assinine. It’s even more foolish than drawing to an inside straight. This man is such a blind ideologue he not only has no economic smarts, he is not even a good manager and should not be an executive in anything, private enterprise or public service. He may have bamboozled the voters to get elected, but now the crunch comes, and he’s in over his head.

      One can only hope that a more prudent Senate (or even some intelligent Republican Delegates in the House) will rein McDonnell in, and impose adult supervision.  

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      Listed below are the “accomplishments of Bob McDonnell as governor:

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    • VADEM

      an ass he is. I hope Virginians are tickled pink with their choice.

    • I think after the initial budget debacle, where McDonnell decided it would be better to let the HoD and state Senate make the cuts for him without submitting an official budget, we saw what kind of government this was going to be.  One where the executive role is mostly ceremonial — someone to take all of the credit, without being burdened by any responsibility.