On McDonnell’s tax debacle in Virginia
posted at 9:29 pm on February 25, 2013 by Guy Benson
I’m not as conflicted as Erika is over Gov. Bob McDonnell’s new tax-and-spend gambit in Virginia. It’s a disaster, both politically and on policy. The Wall Street Journal editorial to which she links post lays out the case succinctly and persuasively: In short, Virginia Republicans — led by the governor — have lent their imprimatur to a budget package that increases spending, funds “green” boondoggles in addition to needed infrastructure projects, makes a muddled tax code even murkier, and will very likely amount to a net tax hike. And that doesn’t even touch the Medicaid cop-out. The feeble spin from McDonnell’s supporters is that he had no choice but to strike a bargain with Democrats in Richmond, who control half of the state senate. Reaching some accommodation with the opposition party is a reality of governance; this capitulation, however, represents a collapse of leadership and principle. As for conservatives’ reaction, Red State’s Erick Erickson gets needlessly personal by branding McDonnell a “liar,” but Jennifer Rubin’s whitewash of the situation is far too forgiving. One needn’t be an unflinching “purist” (to borrow her word), to reach that conclusion. I’ve been an admirer of McDonnell since his 2009 campaign — and his stewardship of my adoptive home state has been infinitely preferable to the mess I experienced in my former digs. But this “path forward,” as he calls it, is a major disappointment.
UPDATE – I neglected to describe the politics of all this. Again, back to the Journal: “This fiasco will haunt Republicans in a state that holds elections in November. Probable Democratic nominee for Governor Terry McAuliffe endorsed the bill knowing it erases any GOP advantage of taxes and spending. Mr. Cuccinelli, the likely Republican nominee, opposed the bill but must now find a way to rally a splintered GOP and demoralized conservatives.”