“April Fools’ Day” came early this year. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a professed conservative Republican, together with the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, betrayed their loyal Republican constituents as “Fools of Deception.” In the waning hours of the legislative session they produced a transportation bill praised in the press by Democrats Tim Kaine and wannabe- governor Terry McAuliffe…suspicion enough that the bill is a tax-and-spend give-away. Like Obama-Care, it had to be passed before Virginia taxpayers could read what was in it. Like Obama-Care, the bill allocates money for a multitude of special interest groups and projects. Some general revenue funds may actually go to improving existing infrastructure, unless hijacked for other politically favored pet projects.
McDonnell is following recent Republican precedent. “Read my lips: no new taxes” was George H. W. Bush’s election-winning promise at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Once President, he signed a major tax increase.
The 2005 “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act” signed into Federal law by President George W. Bush may have set the example for McDonnell. That $286.4 billion bill provided a cornucopia of funding and earmarks for surface transportation infrastructure, including the interstate highway system, public transit, pedestrian amenities, and rail freight. It also funded the infamous Alaska “bridge-to-nowhere.” Virginians should not be surprised if future state transportation projects include similar “bridge-to-nowhere” boondoggles.
The public must wonder what happened to the Governor McDonnell who showed such early promise in office when his audits of the Virginia Department of Transportation unearthed nearly $ 1 billion of unused funding, and he instituted a series of budgetary and management reforms. In attempting to revamp the gasoline tax revenue mechanism, he unleashed a crushing general tax increase on Virginians. Democrats, and pseudo-Republicans, smelling blood in the water, ballooned an initial $ 2 billion proposal into a $ 6 billion program. Reaching across the aisle for support, he fell into the Democrats’ lap and revived a Medicaid expansion.
This November brings a gubernatorial contest to Virginia; it also brings the annual tradition of “trick or treat.” Conservative voters of Virginia have been tricked, and they will not treat conservative pretenders with their vote.
McDonnell is scheduled to address the Conservative Political Action Conference Faith & Freedom Coalition Prayer Breakfast March 15, 2013…the “Ides of March.” All hail Julius Caesar?