Home Budget, Economy So Much for McDonnell’s “Surplus.” And So Much for McDonnell’s “Jobs.”

So Much for McDonnell’s “Surplus.” And So Much for McDonnell’s “Jobs.”

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Two Bob McDonnell Big Lies bite the dust (or SHOULD, if the media actually does its job, and if the public pays attention for 2 minutes).

First, the supposed “surplus.” A new Commonwealth Institute report further demolishes that one (I say “further,” because McDonnell’s already been demolished on previous “surpluses,” while this one is somewhat preemptive, for McDonnell’s upcoming Big Lies for 2012 and 2013):

Despite years of cuts to public services and slowly rebounding state revenues, Virginia faces an estimated budget shortfall of more than $800 million in the upcoming 2012-2014 biennial budget, according to a new report released today by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. The report, In the Red, provides a forecast of state revenues and expenditures based on publicly available data.

[…]

…previous budgets have been brought into balance by cutting and disinvesting in these and other essentials such as K-12 education, and using a variety of other tools – such as the Rainy Day Fund and federal Recovery Act funding – which are no longer available to lawmakers. Furthermore, the state knowingly underfunded the Virginia Retirement System during the recession, an option the Governor and lawmakers insist will not be used again.

Again, so much for Bob McDonnell’s supposed “surplus.” It isn’t.

Now, with regard to McDonnell’s other Big Lie, here’s the Commonwealth Institute once again:

*”Virginia has lost 23 percent of the job gains made since February 2010” (note: McDonnell took office in January 2010)

*”The state has made no real progress in job creation since the end of the recession all the way back in June 2009. At that time, Virginia’s total employment was 3.6 million and it remains at 3.6 million today”

*”When compared to pre-recession levels in December 2007, total employment in Virginia is down over 120,000 jobs.”

*”Private businesses in Virginia currently employ fewer workers than they did in July 2004.”

Just to be clear, I’m not blaming Bob McDonnell for causing any of this. However, if McDonnell is going to go around claiming he actually has created jobs, he richly deserves to be slammed for his laughably absurd claim. Back in the real world, the fact is that we’re in a nasty recession, caused in large part by Bob McDonnell’s party’s policies.

Making matters worse, McDonnell’s party has been completely unhelpful in efforts to get us out of said recession, whether through Keynesian-style stimulus “pump priming,” or through increasing the debt ceiling and not threatening to plunge the world economy into another meltdown like we saw in the fall of 2008, etc.

Finally, McDonnell’s party has relentlessly bashed the hand that’s been feeding it — namely the federal government, which in Virginia’s case, accounts for (directly or indirectly) a huge percentage of employment, gross economic output, you name it.

All of which makes it doubly, triply galling to listen to McDonnell lie, lie, and lie some more about his supposed job creation prowess. In fact, he’s accomplished nothing, other than ungratefully accepting federal stimulus dollars, raiding the state pension fund, and borrowing against our future. Apparently, in GOP land, all that FAIL adds up to “success.” It would be hilarious if it weren’t so deadly serious.

  • glennbear

    And just how many VA tax dollars have been given to corporations to lure them to VA ? The incentive to jobs created ratio is an abysmal number. But makes for great publicity for his phony job creation spin.

  • sspiker

    1) I don’t think anyone is disputing (or is surprised) that Virginia faces a shortfall heading into the next biennial budget. The press release McDonnell released, however, referred to a surplus for FY2011.

    Now, you can argue (which you have, and I’m sure will again) that it’s not actually a surplus if we underfunded the VRS. Fair point. But the existence of the FY12-14 shortfall doesn’t affect the Administrations claim of a FY11 surplus.

    2) The Unemployment Rate in Virginia was 7.2% when McDonnell was sworn in. It’s 6.3% now.

    I think most states would gladly, gladly take a jobs report that showed no net jobs have been lost since June 2009. And I think 49 other states would, in a second, love to be called “The #1 State to To Business In”.

    So, yeah, McDonnell has done well with lowering the unemployment rate, despite circumstances mostly out of his control, and keeping Virginia a business-friendly state. He has also achieved a surplus without raising taxes (which, as discussed, could be criticized for questionable accounting). He hasn’t been perfect. But I think he’s more than earned his status as one of the most popular Governors in the country.