Here’s what Gov. McAuliffe had to say this morning on WRVA’s “Ask the Governor” show.
- Virginia is “underperforming” economically due to “defense cuts and sequestration…we get hit harder than anyone else.”
- He says he’s done 240 deals, “almost $5.1 billion in direct investment…that’s double what any governor’s done in their first 11 months in office.”
- With regard to the budget, he says “everything’s on the table,” including “tax preferences.” He says there are things that were put into the Virginia tax code that have “long outlived their usefulness; if they’re not creating jobs anymore, then they should be in there anymore.”
- He says we’re a “low-tax state” and we’re “not changing that.” He adds that we need to look at the whole tax code; “are we as pro-business as we should be?”
- He says the big issue at the federal level is sequestration – if Congress doesn’t deal with this issue and allows defense cuts to go forward, that “will have a dramatic impact on us.”
- On the Affordable Care Act, he says it’s the “law of the land,” and that implementing it to the benefit of our citizens is “what I’m going to do.” We have the right to bring back our Medicaid money — $2.5 billion a year — something conservative states “all over America” are doing. It’s also important to “close the coverage gap.”
- On ethics, he says he’s glad to see the House Republicans joining him on the $100 gift limit. He also wants an ethics commission that has real teeth to it. Legislators shouldn’t be able to raise money during special session. You shouldn’t be able to vote on things that personally benefit you or your family.
- On Route 460, McAuliffe says the “real tragedy” is that they never even applied for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to go through/over wetlands. So, “I stopped it — this road was never going to be built…we’ve wasted $300 million, it’s going to cost me a lot of money to unwind the deal…This is a very serious issue.” On I-64, he says he’s moving at “warp speed” on widening it, expects it to begin during his term in office, in a cost-effective manner.
- On the UVA/Rolling Stone story, McAuliffe says he appointed a “sexual assault task force” and has called for an investigation. Says this is a “very serious issue.” He says we need strong enforcement of alcohol laws. “I am dead serious – zero tolerance for sexual assault.”
- “I’m going to have a very very aggressive legislative agenda coming up…somewhere close to 40 of the governor’s bills…about 133 agency bills.”
- On EPA regulations, McAuliffe says we’re “all for reducing carbon emissions, but it has to be done in a way that is fair, and as the rules are presently drafted, it is very unfair to Virginia…we get no credit for nuclear…we have sent back up our recommendations…I want to reduce carbon emissions…but I’ve got to protect our jobs here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
- On fracking in the GW National Forest, McAuliffe says he’s against it and has been “very aggressive on this topic.” “The part of the GW Forest [controlled by the federal government]…is now off the table.”
- McAuliffe says the proposed natural gas pipeline he’s just announced is “spectacular for us.”
Good answers: The Affordable Care Act, fracking the GW National Forest, dealing with sexual assault on campus, strong ethics reform.
Bad answers: We need to cut taxes even MORE for business in this state? Other than saying he wants to cut carbon emissions, the rest of his answer on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is just repeating the overwrought whining by fossil fuel interests, Dominion, etc. Finally, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a horrible idea, gets us way off track from where we should be going when it comes to energy (e.g., efficiency, solar, wind) and should absolutely NOT move forward.
P.S. What is it with angry, ignorant people and call-in radio shows? Seems like they are drawn to each other like a supermagnet and iron. Ugh.