Thursday, July 30, 2009
Governor Tim Kaine has shut down 19 rest areas across Virginia, places used by tourists and Virginians alike. These rest areas help reduce driver fatigue and improve driver safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration an estimated 10,000 police-reported crashes nationally are the result of driver fatigue each year, resulting in an estimated 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and a total monetary loss of $12.5 million. The reason these rest areas were shut down was that VDOT didn't have the $9 million for their upkeep. AAA has even come out saying they are opposed to Virginia closing these rest areas, they have found that nearly one third of all drivers have fallen asleep or have almost done so while driving.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This weekend the future of the Commonwealth has spoken, and it was through McDonnell’s vision at the first gubernatorial debate. Transportation and jobs were the hot topics and it was clear that McDonnell out staged Deeds in both. McDonnell unveiled his plan for Virginia’s transpiration issues by thinking outside the box by using a collection of bond revenues, setting aside a percentage new revenues from general revenue growth, revenues received from privatizing ABC stores, and using revenues from future offshore drilling to pay for the project. Importantly, the plan establishes regional accounts where revenues generated in certain regions stay in that region to support the region’s transportation projects. Deeds had no such plan.
On jobs McDonnell certainly stuck to his campaign slogan “Bob’s 4 Jobs” when he called for Virginia’s two US Senators – Jim Webb and Mark Warner – to vote against “Cap and Tax”. Deeds at the debate was “non-committal”. Deeds gesture does not stand well for someone who will hold the highest office in Virginia. To add insult to injury, thousands of Deeds’ own constituents work at a Mead Westvaco plant in Covington which faces closure if “Cap and Tax” passes. To quote McDonnell,
“If you won’t take a stand for 1,500 jobs in your district, people in Virginia can’t be confident that you’ll protect jobs statewide. A governor needs to take a stand and say if it’s wrong for Virginia, I’ll oppose it (cap and trade).
Bob McDonnell appears to be right. Virginians shouldn’t be too comfortable about a Gov. Creigh Deeds, unless they think that growing government is the way to grow an economy.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
New Released Travel Plans Show That Tim Kaine’s New Gig Is Still Taking More Time Away From His Day Job.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine rejected Republican charges Wednesday that he is spending too much time traveling the country as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine's comments came a day after he released records that catalogued his whereabouts since he took on the second job in January. After weeks of resisting calls to be more open about his DNC travels, he promised to release a similar summary each month until the end of his term in January.
Legislature to Fix Prosecutorial Mess Against Steve Shannon's Sage Advice
RICHMOND - Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins today praised Governor Tim Kaine's decision to agree with Ken Cuccinelli to call the Virginia General Assembly into a special session to fix a prosecutorial morass following the U.S. Supreme Court decision Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts. The ruling has caused chaos among Virginia Commonwealth's Attorneys regarding the difficulty in having forensic scientists who test material evidence personally testify at trial. As a result, many criminal cases are having to be dismissed or are lost at trial.
"Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, initially called Ken Cuccinelli's request for a special session a ‘stunt,'" said Mullins.
"Well, I guess the governor from his own party disagrees with him. I don't think that's the kind of thing you want to pull if you're arguing to be the state's top lawyer."
In response to Ken Cuccinelli's first call for a legislative fix, Shannon said it was a "stunt," a position he continues to trumpet by posting a supportive editorial on his website
Perhaps even more embarrassingly, Shannon criticized Cuccinelli for supposedly opposing a bill that never reached the Senate, in which Cuccinelli serves. Inasmuch as Cuccinelli was never able to vote on the legislation, it further reveals that not only is Shannon ignorant of Supreme Court precedent vis-à-vis Virginia law, but he also does not understand the legislative process.
Shannon's House Bill 3086 died in committee in the House of Delegates and was never communicated to the Senate, where Cuccinelli might have had a chance to weigh in on it.
"This is astounding," Chairman Mullins said.
"This guy seriously wants to be the attorney general of the Commonwealth, but doesn't get the severity of a Supreme Court ruling and doesn't know that his own bill died in committee. That's almost too funny to make up."
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Johnson said she favors McDonnell over his Democratic opponent, Deeds, because she thinks the Republican can turn around the state's ailing economy.
During a summer meeting of the National Governors Association governors on both sides expressed deep concern about the shape of the healthcare bill emerging from Congress. The overall concern being that the federal government is about to hand them an expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing the money to pay for them.
The governors’ backlash creates yet another healthcare headache for the Obama administration, which has tried to recruit state leaders to pressure members of Congress to wrap up their fitful negotiations. Although many governors said significant change was needed, they said their deep-seated fiscal troubles made it a terrible time to shift costs to the states. With the recession draining states of tax revenues even as their Medicaid rolls are surging, the National Governors Association projects that states will face aggregate deficits of $200 billion over the next three years.
Because the states and the federal government share the cost of Medicaid coverage for low-income people, any increase in eligibility levels, benefits, or payments to doctors would impose new costs on the states unless Washington agrees to absorb them entirely. In at least one of several bills circulating in Congress, the states would eventually pick up a share of the new costs, and the governors fear they cannot count on pledges in other bills that they will be held harmless.
But the sentiment among those who were could not have been more consistent, regardless of political party. The governors said in interviews and public sessions that the bills being drafted in Congress would not do enough to curb the growth in health spending. And they said they were convinced that a major expansion of Medicaid would leave them with heavy costs.
“As a governor, my concern is that if we try to cost-shift to the states, we’re not going to be in a position to pick up the tab,’’ said Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat. “I’m personally very concerned about the cost issue, particularly the $1 trillion figures being batted around,’’ said Governor Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Democrat who served in the Clinton Cabinet and ran for president against Obama.
Many governors expressed frustration that the prolonged negotiations in Washington had made it difficult to gauge the potential impact on their budgets. In the latest draft of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, still being written, the federal government would pick up the extra costs for perhaps five years, but states would then have to pay their normal share. On average, the federal government pays 57 percent, and states pay 43 percent.
This list of indulgences by the governors just adds another log on the fire to Obama's healthcare crisis, and it seems that the Obama Administration has pushed the governors' concerns aside. As state leaders, the President and members of congress should consider the impact that this bill will have on all of the 50 states.
For full text- http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2009/07/20/governors_balk_over_what_healthcare_bill_will_cost_states/?page=2