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Friday News: Trump Wages War on His Base, Aims for “Dumber, Dirtier America”; Gillespie, Stewart Aim for Dumber, Dirtier Virginia

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, March 17.

  • Possible VA GOP U.S. Senate candidate against Tim Kaine in 2018: ACLU defends Muslims, attacks Christians/hates America

    https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3952/33105914280_52de37f48c_o.jpg

  • Ralph Northam responds to Ed Gillespie’s tax plan:

    “Virginia Democrats like Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe have put Virginia on sound fiscal and economic footing by budgeting responsibly while investing in our economic future, in our public schools, in our higher education system and in protecting our environment. Dr. Northam has been proud to stand with them as they worked to move Virginia forward.

    “As a small business owner who grew his medical practice from the ground up, Dr. Northam understands Virginia can always make the tax code more predictable to encourage small business growth. Last year, he called for a top to bottom review of government to identify areas to reform and this includes our tax code. He believes Virginia can make obtaining appropriate business and professional licenses easier, which will help drive innovation and entrepreneurship.

    “Virginians have seen these types of irresponsible tax plans before from D.C. Republicans. It seems like Ed’s spent too much time with lobbyists on K Street and CEOs on Wall Street, because his Trump-esque tax plan was inspired by a Koch Brothers-funded group that promotes debunked climate change research and praised Ted Cruz’s ridiculous tax plan.

    “In Virginia, both Republicans and Democrats have been fiscally responsible with Virginian families’ tax dollars. It’s why the commonwealth has seen continued economic growth and AAA bond ratings for fiscal management. The Virginia Way may not please corporate interests, but it has worked well for Virginia.”

    • Just one problem with this statement: the last paragraph is basically completely wrong. First off, Republicans like Jim Gilmore have been wildly IRRESPONSIBLE fiscally, driving Virginia into a fiscal “ditch” which threatened our AAA bond rating and which required Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to dig us out of.

      Second, in no way/shape/form is the “Virginia Way” NOT about pleasing corporate interests. In fact, this system of “legalized corruption” is specifically all about “pleasing corporate interests” – doing their bidding on whatever they want, basically, in a classic “pay to play” system – and has most certainly NOT “worked well for Virginia.”

  • Quizzical

    Maybe the US military is like the US healthcare system. We pay more than anyone else but we don’t get the most value for the money spent.
    http://www.voanews.com/a/navy-budget-boost-fix-readiness-shortfalls/3766532.html?src=voa-editor-picks
    I don’t doubt that the Navy as well as the other services have readiness and maintenance shortfalls. The real question is what’s the explanation for this. The article above points out that building more ships, but continuing to have inadequate maintenance and supply funds, is not necessarily going to change the situation.

  • Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Bill Restricting Local Decision Making on Wages

    Governor Terry McAuliffe today vetoed House Bill 1753, which would restrict local governments from making their own decisions about the wages that contractors pay employees. The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

    March 17, 2017

    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1753, which would prohibit a local government from requiring that its contractors have a wage floor or other benefit above what is required by state or federal law.

    In recent years, several local governments have required contractors to pay certain wage levels in contracts with localities. These initiatives have provided access to qualified, high-skilled workers and contractors and successfully addressed significant cost-of-living and workforce disparities in these localities.

    The ability of other local governments to make this choice should be supported, not limited. Decisions regarding municipal contracts should be made by local leaders who fully understand local needs, and the needs of their workforce.

    Accordingly, I veto this bill.
    Sincerely,

    Terence R. McAuliffe

  • Video: Irish PM, standing next to anti-immigrant Trump, says St. Patrick himself was an immigrant, “the patron of immigrants”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zRxKaAurAs

  • Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Bill Reinstating Costly and Ineffective Coal Tax Credit without Meaningful Reform

    Governor Terry McAuliffe today vetoed Senate Bill 1470, which would reinstate the coal employment and production incentive tax credit and extend the coalfield enhancement tax credit without meaningful reforms:

    March 17, 2017

    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1470, which would reinstate the coal employment and production incentive tax credit and extend the allowance of the coalfield employment enhancement tax credit without meaningful reform.

    As I stated last year when I vetoed similar legislation, I work tirelessly to build a new Virginia economy and ensure that the Commonwealth is the best place to live, work, and run a business. Making the most effective use of every dollar taxpayers entrust to their government is an essential part of that effort.

    In January 2012, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) published its final report, Review of the Effectiveness of Virginia Tax Preferences, Senate Document No. 4. That report established that the coal tax credits were intended to slow the decline of coal production and employment. Instead, JLARC found that the decline of coal production and employment was the same or even faster than was predicted before the credits were created. JLARC’s report concluded that the economic activity had not moved in the desired direction and that the credits had not achieved their goal.

    Specifically, from 1988 until 2016, coal mine operators, electricity generators, and other coal-related companies have claimed over $637 million in tax credits. However, during the same period, the number of coal miners in Virginia has declined from 11,106 to 2,483. It would be unwise to spend additional taxpayer dollars on a tax credit that has fallen so short of its intended effectiveness.

    Given the findings of the JLARC study and the lack of meaningful reform, including in this year’s legislative session, I believe it would be inappropriate to sign this legislation.

    Accordingly, I veto this bill.
    Sincerely,

    Terence R. McAuliffe

  • Quizzical

    One problem we face is that with all the turmoil and division caused by Trump, people won’t see opportunities to work together to get meaningful things done. On climate change, there are non-partisan ways to help address the problems that don’t require a great deal of help from the federal government. As an example, look at the Billion Tree Taunami program in Pakistan.
    http://news.trust.org/item/20170316002629-n6m1a

    We already have institutions set up to do something similar, for example, the Arbor Day Foundation for one. All we need is leadership and the audacity to set a huge goal, and a relatively small amount of money.