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Bob McDonnell – No Ronald Reagan! – Loses Virginia’s “Best State for Business” #1 Ranking

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Well, that didn’t take long: just 2 1/2 years after Democrat Tim Kaine left office and Republican Bob McDonnell took office, we’ve lost our “best state for business” rating:

Virginia this year slipped to third place thanks largely to the state’s congestion issues. Virginia’s infrastructure and transportation ranking fell from 10th in 2011 to 33rd. Billions in scheduled federal budget cuts will disproportionately impact Virginia, also affecting its short fall to third.

Bob McDonnell’s pathetic excuse for the failure – ON HIS WATCH – as well as the broader failure of Virginia Republicans, to fund transportation and prevent our state’s infrastructure from crumbling into dust? No joke, the governor’s office claims that our loss of the #1 ranking is a “notable, bipartisan accomplishment,” and heck, we’re still in the top 3. Seriously, they really said this. #FAIL

Speaking of #FAIL, note that President Ronald Reagan, as shown in the 1983 news clip above, raised the federal gas by 5 cents per gallon (along with higher sales taxes on trucks and trailers, higher excise taxes on tires, etc.), in order to raise $5.5 billion per year to “repair existing highways and bridges,” “complete the interstate system,” improve mass transit, and “create 320,000 jobs.”

In stark contrast to Ronald Reagan, here in Virginia, Bob McDonnell and his fellow Republican’ts — puppets of Grover Norquist’s absolutist pledge against any taxes, anytime — have refused to raise transportation revenues, despite the fact that Virginia needs $700 million/year more “just to fix its crumbling roads and bridges.” And, of course, we need billions more if we want to go beyond just maintaining what we’ve already got.

What have Bob McDonnell and his merry band of no-taxes-at-any-cost Republican’ts done about this situation? Well, let’s see, they buried Del. Lacey Putney’s bill to raise money for transportation; they buried Del. Joe May’s bill to impose a “Virginia Pump Toll” to raise money for transportation; and they buried Del. Vivian Watts’ bill to…you guessed it, raise money for transportation. Sensing a pattern here?

The bottom line is that the Virginia business community, not to mention disgusted commuters, have been calling for more revenues to fund transportation for at least 10 years now. The response by Republicans? “No, No, No, and No.” Did I mention “No?” So much for the Republicans being “business friendly;” that’s just a really bad joke at this point. In fact, Republicans are killing business in Virginia, as evidenced by our loss – on THEIR WATCH – of our state’s coveted #1 ranking as the “best state for business.” Heckuva job, guys!

So what HAVE we gotten from failed Governor Bob McDonnell? No more than window dressing, gimmicks, and smoke and mirrors, such as speeding up already authorized borrowing, selling naming rights to bridges (what, the Taco Bell Expressway — live mas, drive less?!?), mythical “revenues” from offshore oil drilling, even though there’s no sign that we have any economically recoverable reserves off our coast, and even though AT BEST those revenues would not flow to Virginia for many, many years (probably never) to come. Brilliant, what a plan! (snark)

The fact is, none of this should be surprising at all. If you vote for Republicans, with their mindless anti-tax attitudes that President Ronald Reagan – supposedly their great hero – would have despised (he signed multiple tax increases into law, including some big ones!), this is what you’re going to get. Just look at California, where the infamous anti-tax Proposition 13 continues to trash what used to be one of the greatest education systems in the world. Replicate that disaster nationwide, including in Virginia, and the results are as obvious as they are disastrous. In 2012 and 2013, if you want to see Virginia’s infrastructure continue to deteriorate, then by all means keep voting Republican! If not, then vote Democratic. It’s really that simple.

  • Matt_H

    While I am glad that Virginia has slipped in its top position with respect business dealings on the Governor’s watch, who really cares?  I’d rather be number one in quality of life and 50th in business any day of the week.  If a high quality of life can’t attract great businesses, what’s the point?  

    A few years ago the state of Connecticut passed a law that mandated that all businesses with over 50 employees provide each employee with five paid sick days annually.  The God-awful Chamber of Commerce predicted that the law would drive away good jobs – really?  I guess the new definition a “good job” is having to choose between working while sick or not getting paid and possibly being fired.    

    If we (as a state) only cared enough to be competitive in a quality of life race!

  • kindler

    …is how often conservative business groups like NFIB and the Chamber lead businesses to vote against their own long-term business interests!

    Think about it:  businesses benefit immeasurably from improvements in infrastructure, in government educating their workers, ensuring their health care (and hence their related productivity), having a healthy court system to settle disputes, maintaining a level playing field where those firms that pollute everyone’s environment, and abuse workers, customers or the public are punished — and so on.

    But so many business men and women fall for the Republican siren song that they can get away with having it all at everyone else’s expense, with little or no taxes or regulation.  I hope they pay attention to this example of short-sided and selfish Republican policies harming, not helping business.