Monday, July 13, 2015

Republican-led General Assembly’s conservative budgeting leads to $553 million budget surplus

The following is a release from the House Speakers office:

"Quick and responsible action to close a budget shortfall last year and conservative budget amendments passed by Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly in 2015 have led to a $553 million budget surplus. The surplus was announced Monday in Richmond. Most of the surplus will be invested in Virginia’s rainy day fund. The remainder is allocated for investments in other core functions of state government.

"The announcement of a budget surplus is good news for the Commonwealth. It is the result of the Republican-led General Assembly’s responsible, conservative budgeting,” said Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “The General Assembly acted quickly last fall to close a projected budget shortfall, protecting our Triple-A bond rating and putting the Commonwealth back on solid financial footing. We built on that by adopting a series of conservative budget amendments this year that led to this surplus. Thank you to Chairman Jones, Majority Leader Cox, Vice Chairman Landes and the entire House Appropriations Committee for their work on behalf of the House of Delegates."

Speaker Howell continued, "While this news is certainly positive, we must also remain cautious. Virginia’s economy continues to struggle. We reported zero percent growth in the first quarter and recently fell to 12th on CNBC’s list of Top States for Business. Those facts and continued uncertainty mean Virginia must develop a stronger, more focused strategy to create jobs and long-term economic growth. We must also avoid taking on new, long-term obligations like Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Despite the federal government’s promises, Virginia taxpayers will eventually be left to shoulder the cost of expansion. We are committed to strengthening our health care safety net without expanding government-run entitlement programs."

"The General Assembly’s cautious approach and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars is the reason for today’s good news,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). "As required by our Constitution and the budget, the surplus will be redirected to the rainy day fund and other core functions of government. This also means that the pay raises for our teachers, state police officers, college faculty, sheriff’s deputies and state employees will kick in. However, while we can be proud of this news, we must recognize that our Commonwealth continues to face both short and long-term economic challenges."

House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) joined Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senator Walter Stosch at today’s announcement. Jones said, "Since last year I have worked with Senator Stosch and the Administration to chart a fiscal course that would result in today’s announcement. Our responsible action to close the budget shortfall in 2014, along with the adoption of a fiscally conservative revenue estimate, and limiting any new spending during the 2015 Session are the reasons why we can announce this surplus. These resources will be used to replenish our rainy day fund and begin the next budget cycle on strong footing. While today’s announcement is good news, Virginia’s economic recovery remains uncertain, especially in light of the inaction in Washington to deal responsibly with sequestration and the federal budget."

"Time and time again, the cautious and measured approach of House Republicans to crafting the state budget has resulted in budget surpluses for the Commonwealth,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “This is good news for Virginia. Moving forward, we must remain aware of the economic challenges our Commonwealth faces and stay committed to this conservative approach. While Washington struggles under deficits and an ever-increasing federal debt, Virginia continues to prove there is a better path. That path does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. We can and will continue to strengthen the healthcare safety net without expanding this entitlement program."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Trump Surge

Political neophyte, and perpetual self-promoter Donald Trump has announced that he is running for President. And despite having never served in elective office, and as such has no public policy record to run on, is claiming that he is a conservative and that he can win. Both of these claims are highly dubious.

I must say I am surprised he is doing so well in the polls. I guess rank and file Republicans have been so disappointed by conventional politicians that they are inspired by Trump’s brash and politically incorrect style. Trump is a larger than life figure who is prone to blunt talk. In short he seems like a fighter which Republicans have not seen in years. He is the un Boehner.

But the main question, could he win the general election if nominated? In my opinion, I would say in a phrase, no way Jose.

Trump has never won an election for any office. So as a candidate he has never been tested. We have no idea if he is a conservative since he has no voting record. And he has lots of baggage, which he will have to overcome.

The mainstream media (which is 99 percent liberal) will tear him up. No doubt they will bring up the divorces (two of them!), the alleged bankruptcy, other business deals, which may be fine, but could be twisted to look bad. Remember, Mitt Romney had partial ownership in a company where a woman died, and with that tenuous connection the media implied Romney was responsible for her death. So you can only imagine what they’d do with Trump’s business record.

The media will no doubt bring up the fact that he gave money to Democrats, gave money to the Clinton Foundation. He never served in elective office, has no public policy experience and so forth.

After the mainstream media is done with him he will be toxic. If he were our nominee not only would he lose the general election he’d also be a drag on our congressional candidates.

I am somewhat baffled why Trump is getting so much support from Republicans especially when there are so many good candidates. I have endorsed former Governor Jim Gilmore, but there are others to consider.

We have Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Scott Walker, Governor John Kasich, and others. Many of them have been elected in swing states and even purple states. They have records with lots of accomplishments.

So much is at stake in next year’s election. We need a proven conservative and an experienced campaigner.

Safe to say we have a number of good candidates for President and Donald Trump is not one of them.

McDonnell Vows To Fight On

The following is a release from former Governor Bob McDonnell's defense team:

"The road to justice has many twists and turns. This morning, Bob McDonnell's fight for justice hit a speed bump, however the mission for vindication for Bob will go on with passion and grace.

The decision today is not the end of the road. While, a panel of the 4th Circuit affirmed the District Court decision, the full 4th Circuit has yet to review our pleadings, and if necessary we will bring Bob's case to the highest court in the land.

Bob's attorney's are pushing forward to ensure a full hearing of all the facts in the coming weeks and months. We need your support to put forth the strongest effort.

In a statement his attorneys wrote:

"We are disappointed with the Court's decision affirming Governor McDonnell's convictions. We will review the opinion carefully and continue to pursue all legal options. The fight for justice for our client is far from over.

It is by the grace of God and belief in our justice system that gives Bob hope and maintains his innocence, today he said:

"I am greatly disappointed with the Court's decision today. During my nearly 40 years of public service, I have never violated my oath of office nor disregarded the law. I remain highly confident in the justice system and the grace of our God that full vindication will come in time. I remain very blessed to have the unwavering support of my family and great friends which continues to sustain me."

There hasn't been a more critical time to show our support of Bob. We urgently ask that as supporters you give to support the legal defense of a great Virginia governor.

Bob's legal team is committed to seeing justice if served and that Bob is vindicated, however the costs are significant and we want to ensure we have the best opportunity to fight for Bob's innocence."

To donate click here:

Or mail a donation to:

Restoration Fund
PO Box 1432
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

God bless,

Friends of Bob McDonnell

p.s. If you prefer, you may make a contribution by check, simply fill out this form and make your check payable to "Restoration Fund". The form and check can be mailed to:

Restoration Fund,
PO Box 1432
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gilmore for President!

It looks like it is official, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has thrown his hat into the ring and is running for President. I have been involved in partisan politics and public policy debates for over 20 years, and I can honestly say that I have never met anyone as smart and as politically savvy as Gilmore. His background and experience makes him one of the most qualified of candidates. Gilmore has executive experience, experience in military intelligence, and he served his country overseas. In addition he was a prosecutor and a veteran, a former Attorney General of Virginia, and a former Governor.

Gilmore has won two statewide elections in the purple state of Virginia. He was elected in all regions and with broad support. Based on his working class background and economic message I am confident that Gilmore can broaden the Republican vote against Hillary in 2016.

We live in a very dangerous world. I would say the threats facing our country today are greater than at any other time in history. We have a hostile Russia bent on expansion, a middle east which is in flames, and Islamic terrorism on the rise. Making matters worse we have a commander and chief who is seemingly unaware of all these threats. For example, writing off a terror group (ISIS) that now controls much of Iraq as a “JV Team.” He also is unsure of whose side we should be on in the case of Syria.

Our nominee will need to be well versed in foreign policy and security issues to lead our country. Our next President will have to be tough and have an understanding of the world we face today, not a silly politically correct worldview that believes blaming America first, convincing Putin that we will be more flexible, and reminding everyone that Islam is the religion of peace will solve every problem. Our next President will need to have the intellectual firepower to deal with this chaotic and hostile world we find ourselves in.

By that criteria I think Jim Gilmore will be our strongest nominee. Gilmore has a strong foreign policy and military resume. The credentials the next President needs. After college Gilmore enlisted in the United States Army, where he was trained for service in Military Intelligence. Gilmore also received rigorous foreign language education at the United States Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, California. Gilmore then worked for three years in the early 1970's in the 650th Military Intelligence Group.

Wouldn't it be great to have a President who understands intelligence? And how our intelligence services work?

After 911 Gilmore was asked to head a commission to assess domestic response capabilities for terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The commission is often referred to as the Gilmore Commission. The Gilmore Commission's made 164 recommendations to Congress and the President. Of those recommendations the federal government has adopted 146 in whole or in part.

Gilmore cares deeply about foreign policy issues as evidenced by his blog American Opportunity. He writes extensively on the issues facing our country including vital foreign policy discussions.

In 2016 the American people will be looking for a presidential candidate who has experience with foreign policy and national security. On these issues Gilmore is one of the strongest possible candidates the GOP can nominate.

As President of the Free Congress Foundation Gilmore has focused on the need to adopt pro growth economic policies.

Gilmore may be the dark horse, but it is a crowded field and Gilmore's resume is as strong as any of the other candidates in the field. So he has a decent shot.

Virginia has produced 8 US Presidents. I say make it one more with Gilmore!