Earlier, I asked whether Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling would take a stand on the “stimulus” money headed Virginia’s way. While there’s no real debate on whether Virginia will turn away the money (legislators’ palms couldn’t have been outstretched any farther), it’s still a matter that should be addressed. So I asked the McDonnell campaign and the Lt. Governor’s office for comment.
Speaking for the McDonnell campaign, Tucker Martin responds:
“Bob McDonnell understands that Virginians are hurting and our top priority must be to get our economy back on track and create jobs. The stimulus bill was hastily written and received virtually no review by Congress prior to the vote. A well-crafted stimulus bill that creates sustainable jobs and incentivizes the private sector would be more effective. This bill contains significant categories of spending that may do little to help the economy.
It is his position that the legislation should have contained more immediate tax cuts and measures to stimulate job creation and business investment in the current year. It is highly disappointing that only 6% goes to Virginia’s most critical need, and that is transportation infrastructure. However, the bill has now passed, and since Virginia taxpayers will pay their share of its cost, they should participate in any benefits that can be recognized from it.
Bob McDonnell will, when elected Governor this November, remember that this bill is just a short- term fix to a long-term problem. The hard work of creating jobs and improving the overall business climate in Virginia will require aggressively defending our Right to Work Law from congressional attack, providing new incentives for small business start ups which are our economic engine, equipping the Governor with more tools to attract and retain major corporations, strongly promoting Virginia’s strengths like tourism and technology, and the implementation of other pro-business policies. All this must be done for the sake of our future prosperity.”
Next up, Randy Marcus responds on behalf of Lt. Gov. Bolling:
“Lieutenant Governor Bolling has previously stated his opposition to the so-called federal economic stimulus bill. While some parts of the bill may help encourage economic growth, such as tax cuts for families and businesses and targeted spending on one time infrastructure needs, the Lieutenant Governor feels that the legislation included way too much spending on new and existing government programs and not enough in the way of tax relief. As you know, the Wall Street Journal estimated that the original House bill only directed 12% of the money to programs that could even remotely be considered an economic stimulus.
“In addition, the Lieutenant Governor has cautioned the members of the General Assembly that the money Virginia will receive under the federal legislation to support programs like education, health care, public safety, etc. is one-time money and it cannot be used to balance our budget on an ongoing basis. While this money may help offset some of the sort term budget reductions that Governor Kaine had recommended, it will expire on September 30, 2010 and unless we see a significant resumption of economic growth by that time we will once again face huge budget shortfalls. Ultimately, we will only solve the structural problems in the state budget by reducing spending and bringing spending in line with the revenues we are collecting.
“Going forward, our attention will be focused on ways to get the economy moving again, such as reducing taxes for families and businesses; eliminating unnecessary or redundant regulatory burdens; investing in programs that will attract new business, industry and jobs to Virginia; and looking for other ways to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of America. The best solution to our current economic challenges is a successful and vibrant private sector, not bigger government.”
So there you have it. Draw your own conclusions…I know I will.