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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Letter to the Editor: Town Hall Reveals McDonnell's Backward Energy Stance

Bob McDonnell’s town hall meeting last Tuesday solidified two things for me: that he is a brilliant and gifted politician and that he has a backward outlook on environmental issues.

While most of the discussion focused around the privatization of ABC liquor stores, several questions brought up the governor’s environmental policy.

Despite the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, McDonnell said he remains committed to pursuing drilling off Virginia’s coast.
Ignoring the lessons of the BP disaster is irresponsible and calling it “a fluke” is foolish.

While drilling would bring in many new jobs, so would investment in cleaner energy alternatives.

Virginia cannot afford to lose the thousands of tourists who visit our beaches.  Nor can we afford to pay for the massive clean up an oil spill would require.

Cara MacDonald is a Senior

Comments

  1. Jillian-Rose

    If you really wanted to sum up what McDonnell was saying, maybe you should not be so baised and only pick and choose words in order to hear what you want. McDonnell acknowledged that the BP oil spill was a great tragedy, but if you look at the FACTS, then he has a pretty solid basis on wanting to drill.

    BP, a British oil company, has accounted for 97% of the OSHA violations in the past three years. If we were to drill off of the VA coast, it would not be done by BP.

    If we are going to continue to be so dependent on oil, then isn’t it better to get it on our own, rather then buy it from foreign countries? If we have this resource, then why should we just let it sit there?

    It would not only create jobs, but it would also keep our gas prices low and keep the state of Virginia from going back into debt.

    You should give McDonnell a LOT more credit, he has brought this state out of a $1.8 Billion deficiet to a $404 Million surplus, in just six months. He has given us no reason not to trust his judgement.

    You should really take another look at the situation. Stop letting your ideology block you from using common sense.

  2. Jon Williams

    “You should give McDonnell a LOT more credit, he has brought this state out of a $1.8 Billion deficiet to a $404 Million surplus, in just six months. He has given us no reason not to trust his judgement.”

    Jillian-Rose, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention lately, but this ‘surplus’ is all smoke and mirrors. When our governor took office and implemented his cuts to education, child care, etc., the state deficit was projected somewhere around 1.8 billion. It is a fact that a large amount of the $2.5 billion granted to VA from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRP) was contributed to the state budget, giving us this so-called ‘surplus’. Add on that our state collected sales taxes before the end of the fiscal year and that the state didn’t pay out pensions to certain groups when it should have.

    There is no question that without ARRP, we would have been in the red. It’s so evident that even Eric Cantor and Ben Cline have admitted that the stimulus was the primary reason for the ‘surplus’. Lest we forget who has suffered greatly from the cuts that McDonnell has imposed: teachers and other honest state employees.
    I haven’t met a person who is in favor of wasteful spending but budget cuts are better done with a scalpel rather than a hatchet. I was encouraged to see that our governor embraced this philosophy last week. Though, I fear what will happen when the funds from ARRP dry up. Will he keep this sensible position on budget cuts or will he embrace the mindless, anti-government rhetoric supported by many of his base?

    I wish common sense applied to politics and complex state budgets. Sadly, we don’t live in a common sense world.

  3. Jillian-Rose

    I have to strongly disagree with you. We should be taking a hatchet to the wasteful spending. The amounts that have been spent on meaningless programs are astronomic. I praise McDonnell for his deep spending cuts, but I never said it was the answer to all of our problems. Even McDonnell says that we should still be cautious when it comes to the economy, because it is not surely stable yet.

    The state did not deny pensions; they simply took money out of the fund, affecting absolutely nobody. You can do that, as long as the person doing it is responsible, and will pay it back. The state is scheduled to spend $74 million annually over the next decade to make up the deferred payments, and McDonnell said he will accelerate the repayments “as times allow.” It was simply a loan, and the same exact thing many other states did.

    The sales taxes that were collected have already been added to budget, meaning they did not add to this surplus. They were taken into account back before they got the first estimate of a $1.8 billion deficit. “The surplus did not come from the accelerated sales tax. Revenue from that policy, first enacted in a different form by the General Assembly in 2009, was already built into the revenue forecast in the budget, and actually came in slightly less than anticipated. I do not like the policy of the accelerated sales tax. It is an unfair imposition on Virginia’s retailers. This spring I sent you budget amendments to begin to phase out this policy by the end of my Administration, and I appreciate your approval of this request. Further, the revenue surplus is not tied to the deferral of payments to VRS. VRS rate reductions are part of the FY 2011/2012 budget.” This policy was already in play, so if you want to blame someone, it should not be McDonnell.

    As for the people who you say have “suffered greatly from the cuts that McDonnell has imposed: teachers and other honest state employees.” I would not call a 3% bonus suffering, especially when they have not seen a raise since 2007.

    His cuts to education were nothing. They had a barely noticeable impact on the schools and none on the children. And not only is $115 going to education technology, but “Virginia school divisions can apply for an estimated $249.5 million in additional assistance that was not accounted for in the budget. School divisions must use this money as required by law to retain, recall, re-hire, or even hire new staff to prevent any reduction in the quality of education services. In the future, I will ask that more money go to the classroom, where our children learn, not to bureaucracy and overhead.”

    Jon, just because our world may not be a “common sense world,” doesn’t mean we should not apply the greatest amount of common sense to our decisions and actions as possible. Just because you think the world does not play by any rules, does not mean we shouldn’t either. That sounds a bit uncivilized to me. Don’t you think it would be better to think for ourselves rather than assume that common sense wouldn’t work?

  4. Jon Williams

    “I have to strongly disagree with you. We should be taking a hatchet to the wasteful spending.”

    I could sit here and write a ridiculously lengthy response to the many points of mine that you have grossly misinterpreted or skewed, but I won’t. In short, I suggest you learn the hatchet and scalpel parable: a scalpel cuts wasteful spending while salvaging a legitimate, beneficial program that helps people in the end (a sensible approach); a hatchet cuts out the same wasteful spending while eliminating the positive aspects of a program needlessly (a barbaric and partisan approach).

    I would think twice about insulting me by claiming I don’t think for myself, especially given the fact that all the evidence for your arguments comes from McDonnell’s speeches. If that is thinking for yourself, then I am glad you counted me out.

    Anyway, I made my point: the ‘surplus’ is fake due to ARRP funds and budgetary tricks before the end of the fiscal year. Respond if you wish, but I won’t continue what is sure to be a pointless exchange of ideology and talking points. Cheers.

  5. Jillian-Rose

    First of all, my evidence does not all come from McDonnell’s speeches. Second, I’m sorry you aren’t able to find any Facts to back up your arguement. But, I was expecting that.

  6. Jon Williams

    Here you go Jillian-Rose, I’ll let you read it for yourself:

    http://www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org/BudgetTax/VirginiaandtheFederalStimulus/InsideStoryofARRAFundsinVirginia/tabid/1015/Default.aspx

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/08/mcdonnell_boasts_of_surplus_cr.html

    http://www.bluevirginia.us/diary/1488/cantor-admits-that-virginias-budget-surplus-largely-a-result-of-stimulus

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/19/news/economy/state_budget_surplus/index.htm

    If you are going to continue to accuse me of having no evidence that the surplus is a result of ARRP and budgetary tricks (yes legitimate tricks but still creating a surplus for this fiscal year), then I feel very sorry for you. You may dispute my analysis, but my claims are legitimate and not baseless as you assert.

    Instead of accusing me of making claims with no evidence (after all, there was evidence in my first post), I suggest you do some research next time to verify whether my points are based on something or made up. This is an online comments section, not a dissertation. I don’t really have the time to include in-line citations for you. I expect you to be an adult and verify the legitimacy of my claims yourself if you are skeptical. That’s politics. If this is unreasonable to you, then I advise that you never watch a political debate or listen to a politician’s speech.

  7. Jillian-Rose

    Well, I have already stated my point, and I have backed it up, with Facts. I know for a fact that this surplus is not all “smoke and mirrors” and if you want to keep on denying it, go ahead. Instead of being such a partisan leftest, you should be open to admitting when someone on the otherside of the asile has done something beneficial for our state.

  8. Jon Williams

    Yes, instead of being such a partisan leftist, I should be a partisan right-winger like yourself, correct?
    Did you even read the articles I posted? I’m not denying anything, I just made my points with legitimate evidence to back it up (i.e. evidence not coming from McDonnell himself or the RNC). Just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean that I must be lying; learn the difference. I don’t think you’re lying, I just think that you don’t want to admit that Bob McDonnell didn’t actually reverse the state deficit on his own. It’s clear that we’d have a deficit if it weren’t for the federal government. How can you sit here and claim that the stimulus didn’t lead to this surplus when both McDonnell and the GOP minority whip have acknowledged that it has?
    Sounds like denial to me.

  9. Jillian-Rose

    ” How can you sit here and claim that the stimulus didn’t lead to this surplus”
    “Sounds like denial to me.”

    Please show me where I ever even mentioned the stimulus, let alone claimed its part in the surplus, or lack there of. Or show me where I ever claimed that McDonnell reversed the deficit on his own.

    Now your just spinning things around. This is obviously going no where, so I am not going to continue to debate this, it’s just a waist of my time.

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