Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Delivers Sick Joke in Danville

Governor McAuliffe showed nothing if not boldness yesterday when he stood up and promised that workforce development would be his number 1 priority for the Pittsylvania/Danville area at a rally in Danville. What is so audacious about that?

Backtrack to 2009. Terry McAuliffe (then-Chairman of GreenTech Automotive after being clobbered in the gubernatorial primary) was scheduled to tour sites for an automotive plant that the Virginia government (under Gov. Kaine) had helped find and connect him with in Martinsville and Danville. The administration and McAuliffe's company had been discussing the plant for some time and hopes were high that then-just-Mr. McAuliffe would be able to bring his 1,500 jobs there, the most economically hard-hit areas of the Commonwealth.

There was only one rub; the EB-5 visa program, a money funnel near and dear to Terry's heart [read: wallet]. The program allows foreign nationals to buy their visas in return for investments in American businesses (three guesses as to which business). When officials expressed concerns, Terry legitimately stood us up. GreenTech cancelled the day before and announced their new plant in Mississippi to investors.

If workforce development is your priority, if "we are all in this together", if you are a savvy businessman who cares about Virginia, then why does every single solitary shred of evidence build further the case against that? You have the cheek to come to a place that you snubbed, to tell people that you betrayed, that you want to bring them jobs? The Governor was given a golden opportunity to bring jobs here, and he sold us out for a tax break.

VA GOP Caucus

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Veto Heard 'Round the Commonwealth

Last year if Democrats were not trying in vain to sell Obamacare, they were pouring out self-righteous indignation at Republicans over ethics reform. This culminated somehow in the election of a life-long operative and fundraiser to the most powerful discretionary position in the state. Don't ask me to explain. Now, that man (gasp!) is standing in the way of ethics reform.  WHAT  DID I SAY WOULD HAPPEN?!

Governor McAuliffe, this morning vetoed a bi-partisan ethics bill from Delegates LeMunyon and Surovell that would have applied directly to him. The bill would have prohibited him from accepting gifts over 50 dollars from businesses or individuals seeking funds from his Governor's Development Opportunity Fund. 

The Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund is used to provide grants and loans to businesses to relocate to Virginia or expand in the state. Basically, a Governor has the power to use that money however he sees fit to attract businesses to the Commonwealth. The Governor has broad discretion in making awards, and awards are made without competitive bidding. Speaker Howell: "This legislation was a key part of the General Assembly's efforts to strengthen and improve Virginia's ethics, transparency and disclosure laws."

McAuliffe's reasoning for the veto? If I have to do it, then shouldn't the legislature too? Well, no. See, you're the only one with power over the 35 million dollars of carte blanche taxpayer money that this applies to. The legislature is not in charge of awarding these grants. In McAuliffe's own words "The Governor awards grants from the GOF..."

Brian Coy, the Governor's mouthpiece, had this to say about his boss' decision: "Speaker Howell’s professed concern for transparency and accountability would be more convincing had he and his leadership not implored the governor to sign an ethics reform bill that fell woefully short of the standard the governor applied to himself, his family and the executive branch." 

1. What does this even mean? 
2. This (HB1212/SB650) BI-PARTISAN legislation regarding TAXPAYER MONEY was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate. 

The only thing that became more transparent today were the true feelings of the Governor when it comes to ethics reform. 

VA GOP Caucus

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BREAKING: 99% of Virginians Support Medicaid Expansion

Makes a nice attention grabber, but you have no particular reason to believe those numbers do you? No.

A ploy for readers is one thing, but in reality Governor McAuliffe really has been searching high and low for someone, anyone, who will tell him what he wants to hear about Medicaid; and what he got was as good as anyone could do, given reality. Murky at best, and a heaping disappointment at heart.

Common Good Virginia PAC(Terry's own) sponsored a poll on Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion that showed 52% support the measure. Shocking. Terry McAuliffe, whose PAC is unashamedly selling access RIGHT NOW, is now trying to buy approval.

But the real story is that number. 52% is a slim margin, and as soon as it leaked, the Administration was stumbling over itself to try to keep the genie in the bottle, to no avail. Michael Martz of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports; full article here.

"But, wait! 52% is a majority!" said the imaginary devil's advocate. Well, fine. But where did that number come from? What makes it pitiful is that the total is probably very massaged. A convenient, Democrat-leaning sample, left-leading question formation, and and the obvious implication that the PAC paying for the poll wanted to hear what they wanted to hear are all factors. For all that, 2%? The memo referenced in the article didn't even call it a majority.

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins: “If I was going to buy a poll to back my position on a public policy issue, I’d at least pay for 60 percent of people to agree with me.” 

You will notice that last month's CNU poll showing 53% of Virginians oppose expansion. While controversial, it was at least independent. Democrats backflipped in anger over that one, regardless. So, I will be interested to see who cherry picks this new number for their talking points and conveniently "forgets" to mention the context in which it was bought.

VA GOP Caucus

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jonesing for Some Cash

The major deal, that has the potential to lift DPVA out of crushing debt(who'd've thunk it?), could also be put in textbooks nationwide as a per se example of conflict of interest. Further down the dirty road, the money to buy DPVA HQ will be coming directly from the taxpayers.

"Why," the aforementioned taxpayer may ask, "is this situation so unexplainably intertwined?"

The Mayor/DPVA Chairman has been refusing interviews about any involvement in Richmond buying DPVA headquarters, even though there is a supposed "firewall" between he and the negotiations. Why so reticent?

Because Mayor/Chairman Jones is a person, not a computer virus. There really is no way to fully separate him from this. Jones LEADS both of the participants in this deal. He is the man on the line when it comes to the financial health (or lack thereof) of his party, and the fiscal responsibility of his city; and whether he is in the meeting room or not, the results will tend toward the same.  

Wouldn't you just want to bet that the bid to buy DPVA HQ will beat the median offer, and take a speedy trip through their hands to put a dent in that (again) CRUSHING debt. 600k is not a petty, ignorable amount, and they likely see this as a way to make it disappear overnight. How very convenient....