It was certainly a privilege and honor to have the opportunity to meet with the Governor and his staff yesterday at the Capitol.

The issue of a new  Transportation Bond issue, and the rather sophomoric explanation of how it isn’t going to cost the State a thing was discouraging to say the least. Bonds are debt, pure and simple and regardless of how it is going to be repaid, or what terrific terms we are able to borrow this money, given the States AAA Bond Rating, it is still debt. Elected officials are able to have their cake and eat it too, when they can lay claim to adding funding to Transportation needs, and passing the true costs to future generations of Virginians who are not old enough to vote yet.

The well known disparities in income along with employment between Northern Virginia and South/Southwest Virginia, compounded by 50% of the Transportation budget already allocated to Northern Virginia begs the question why more toll roads are not implemented to ease some of the traffic problems born primarily in two of the highest income ( per capita )  Counties in the U.S.   A bond issue spreads out the costs to all Virginians, regardless of the fact that this is more of a local issue than a State issue. While the Governor’s staff take great comfort in the debt service being well within the range of ease,  using Virginia’s portion of Federal money to service said costs , those funds are subject to political winds, as well as future cuts, certain to come given Washingtons tenuous finances.

The issue of privatizing the State’s ABC stores was more befuddling than anything. The only advantage I saw from the two options under consideration is it will generate a one time significant sum for the State, but after that the State is still knee deep in the Alcohol business. Equally troubling was learning that the State marks up Alcohol 69 % before it sells it to Virginians. The hypocrisy of elected officials who castigate the oil industry as villians when they are operating on 8-9% margins speaks volumes of their logic. Everyone else in the private sector is a crook. By their own admission consumers are not expected to see any declines in prices because of the States continued taxing and fees.. Perhaps in fairness it is worth noting the State will be out from under the lease obligations for the current stores, and the employee labor/benefit costs.

While we have made progress with this Administration the TEA Party can hardly take much comfort in believing we have truly put Conservatives in charge. That won’t happen until we turn over 2/3 of the General Assembly with Citizen-Legislators and get rid of the professional pols, from the top down.

Bob Shannon

Membership Liaison