We are in the final six weeks of one of the most expensive federal campaigns in our nation’s history. There appears to be no end to the abundance of Super PAC dollars. Rather interesting when we hear that businesses are sitting on billions of dollars “weary of the economy.”
Ironically it is those same corporations that choose not to re-invest in the future by not hiring Americans that are currently out of work. Often times it is these same individuals that seem to fear health care reform and the Republicans have vowed to waste more time, tax payer money and keep this country bound up in political gridlock seeking to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. When I am out in the community attending civic association meetings, festivals, neighborhood events and meeting with folks regularly, I have yet to hear anyone ask to take their twenty-something children off their insurance plans; nor have they asked to reinstate the insurability barrier of pre-existing conditions and/or say that their insurance premiums have not risen dramatically in the last decade. Despite a very publicized lawsuit and 30+ other attempts by the House of Representatives, the Affordable Health Care Act stands. Is it perfect? No, and I believe there are parts of it that should be revisited by the President and Congress. However, it’s time to move this nation forward and end the logjam of legislative gridlock.
Last week the latest in the American political version of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” was made public – a not so secret tape of Mitt Romney comments made at a private fundraiser for those with deep pockets. As a long term political official, I would attest there are few public speakers that would not at least once, wish for the opportunity to call back something that escaped their lips before their brain kicked in. It happens. However, there appears to be a pattern here of defending even the most egregious misspeaks. The idea of dismissing 47% of the American people is alarming. It is indicative of truculent leadership used to keep this nation divided.
For your information, I wanted to bring to your attention some facts about personal income tax in the Commonwealth. Some 3.9 million file tax returns with VA. The top tier for personal income tax is 5.75% for those making over $17,000. We do exempt individuals from filing for a variety of reasons. § 58.1-321 in the Code of VA defines those exemptions and exclusions. Including but are not limited to: Local military stationed inside or outside of VA have a $15,000 deductible; people that are 65 or older have a $12,000 deductible (this may be more than their social security receipts); the working poor includes a family of four making less than $22,350; individuals with an adjusted gross income of $11,950 and marrieds filing jointly with an adjusted gross income of $23,900. The entire list can be found on the legislative information website.
I personally believe there is plenty of room for tax reform at both the state and federal level. Meaningful dialogue is long overdue on how to address the national debt. However, let’s not keep the flames of dissonance stoked as we elect our president and federal representatives. Recent history shows what this vitriolic approach has done to this country – impasse; gridlock and extreme ideological mind set. The success of this democracy rests in middle ground and the courage to lead without worrying about self -preservation as an elected representative.
I would also like to remind you that you should have received your voter registration card. Please check it and carry it with you to the polls on November 6. If you have any issues that need to be addressed, contact your local electoral board.
Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be e-mailed at [email protected]