Something for everyone
Published 11:10 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Leading up to Christmas, it appears that Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a present for everyone’s stocking.
Two weeks ago he formally presented his proposed budget for the last two years of his administration and after. However, in the weeks leading up to that presentation, he released the best gifts that would create the biggest headlines as to his priorities for the rest of his term.
The greatest of those included a billion new dollars for our public schools, three billion in capital investments, a corporate tax cut, and a pay raise for state employees.
Each of these sounds good to a broad range of Virginians, and each will be considered fairly and responsibly as we return to Richmond for the 2016 session.
Of course, as the song goes, “All that glitters is not gold.”
State employees who were happy with the original headlines with the possibility of a raise were not as happy when they found out the raises are proposed for almost two years from now.
The tax relief that appears to make Virginia competitive with other states that have reduced their taxes in the last several years pales in comparison to the cuts being taken by our toughest competitor — North Carolina.
It is a step in the right direction; but, instead of playing catch up, we will be losing ground a little slower.
This is not a strategy for economic growth.
Clearly, our state funding of education has not kept pace with the challenges that our school systems currently face. If we are to have students ready for existing and future career opportunities, we must make investments.
This governor has done what past governors of both parties have done. He has based his spending plan on revenues expected by the state.
As has been learned in the past, those rosy projections sometimes do not hold true.
Over the next two months, we will evaluate his budget carefully to make sure money is spent as responsibly as possible. Some priorities will be different.
Most importantly, we do not over promise this year only to return later to reverse those decisions.
Frank Ruff, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the Virginia State Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.