Local Commentary

Delegate Scott’s Richmond Report

Politics and Hubris

I had an interesting and enlightening discussion with a former member of the church I attend at our polling place on Tuesday morning. He told me that he had left the church because he felt it could not tolerate his conservative views.

Then he described his disdain for members of Congress in both parties, not because he disagreed with them but because of their hubris, the classical term describing excessive ambition, pride or overconfidence causing a protagonist to overreach or fail like the Shakespearean Macbeth. He was voting against Allen for that reason.

Whether the angry voters I saw Tuesday were motivated by a desire to reject all incumbents, or just Republican incumbents as my friend was, I do not know as I finish this column Tuesday afternoon, but since my precinct only has Republican incumbents, I suspect the latter. If so, a strong year for Democrats seems possible.

The Governor makes good                                

Earlier this year, Republicans in the House unanimously voted against the Governor ‘s proposal to hold local jurisdictions harmless from unexpected cuts to child care subsidies for working poor families

Shortly thereafter Governor Kaine said he would try to find funds elsewhere in the approved budget to reduce the impact on local governments, particularly those in Northern Virginia. In Fairfax County the cuts would cause as many as 1900 families to lose crucial support to allow parents of limited income to work.

This week the Governor makes good on that promise. By the time the News-Press is distributed, local governments will know that child care budget support is forthcoming. This time there will be no need for legislative action since the Governor has the authority to make minor Budget modifications without legislative action.

More bad news on transportation

Last week the Commonwealth Transportation Board held a public information session on its Six-Year Improvement Plan. Transportation Secretary Pierce Home summarized the funding situation for the next year. He pointed out that, unless additional revenues are found, annual state funding for construction will decline. Without more funds, maintenance will require an increasing portion of the transportation budget. The Secretary also projected that in six to seven years there will not be adequate state funds to capture available Federal funds because the required state matching funds will not be available.  

The major roadblock to new funding is the House Finance Committee where all 14 Republican members voted against several bills passed by the Senate and a bi-partisan House bill to allow localities to impose fees on new commercial construction and to increase other fees on vehicles and vehicle insurance premiums. Five of the eight Democrats voted for the bill.

More efforts will be made in January, but, at least seven of 14 Republicans will be needed to allow the bill to reach the floor of the House, where it would have a better chance of passing. If, however, the Speaker remains opposed, it is very unlikely that any revenue bill will reach the Floor of the House.

Let us hope this election will help us change course in Richmond.