Dems Say VA GOP Campaigned on Jobs but Pushes Social Agenda as Schools Funding Goes to Localities

January 31st, 2012 by Hannah Hess, Virginia Statehouse News

RICHMOND – Ask Virginia House Minority Leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, what to expect from the state’s conservative leaders, and he’ll say this: “Not only a slew of misplaced priorities, but a classic bait and switch.”

Conservatives tricked Virginia taxpayers by falsely advertising their priorities as jobs and the economy, then using their Republican majority to promote social legislation, said Toscano, a native of New York who practices family and real estate law.

Anti-abortion and gun-control issues are examples, the Democrats say.

Republican leaders Monday refuted the bait and switch theory.

“The folks who disagree with us on some of the more hot-button social issues would love to make it seem as though we are focused on those issues, when in fact, we are not,” said delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

Gilbert said that despite the GOP push to require ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, and whittling away state gun laws effected to decrease violent crime, Republicans remain focused on jobs and government reform.

Calling the socially conservative agenda bait and switch is an “unfortunate characterization,” Gilbert said.

Toscano pointed to the battle over education, which recently caught the attention of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at PolitiFact Virginia. PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based newspaper.

“You’ll hear on the floor, proponents of the governor’s budget talk about all the money, (the) greater amount of money we’re putting into education — that’s the bait,” said Toscano. “But the switch is” that local taxpayers are left holding the bill.

Toscano estimated the state has cut per-pupil spending by more than $547 since 2009, leaving fewer teachers responsible for more of Virginia’s public school students.

Republicans frame the education agenda as the largest-ever investment in Virginia public schools, and PolitiFact says they are correct.

Gov. Bob McDonnell asked the General Assembly to spend $13.1 billion on public education during the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1. The budget that ends June 30 allots $12.6 billion to schools — meaning McDonnell is asking for a $500 million increase.

But most of that money would be spent to revive the state’s broken pension system, not in the classroom, Democrats say.

“Overall in this, his first budget, the governor is cutting pre-K and K-through-12 education by hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Sen. Don McEachin, D-Henrico, the Democratic lawmaker who delivered the response to McDonnell’s State of the Commonwealth address Jan. 11.

“Governor McDonnell says he is prioritizing spending that will drive economic growth, but he proposes cutting $81.6 million from pre-kindergarten, despite all of the evidence that high-quality pre-K actually saves taxpayers money and is among the best long-term investments in economic growth,” said Delegate David Englin, D-Alexandria.

Englin, an Air Force veteran, has partnered with Conservative Caucus co-chairman Ben Cline, R-Richmond, this session, to focus on transparency in Virginia’s corporate tax credit system.

McDonnell “says he is drawing a hard line against tax increases, but then he proposes cutting $65 million from money Northern Virginia needs to be competitive in hiring school staff; that is a $65 million real estate tax increase on our community,” Englin said.

10 Responses to Dems Say VA GOP Campaigned on Jobs but Pushes Social Agenda as Schools Funding Goes to Localities

  1. The GOP are Liars

    January 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    The GOP are liars. They lie on the local level, state level, and federal level.

    In this year’s presidential campaign, the GOP can run their mouths all they want. It doesn’t matter what they say. Any citizen with a brain in their head knows its just a bunch of lies.

    Smart citizens will not forget the recent past. The GOP and their lies critically wounded America four years ago, weakening us domestically and around the world.

    Their lies won’t fool smart, patriotic Americans again.

  2. Veteran

    January 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    No surprises here. The Party of No simply seeks to roadblock any sort of meaningful economic and societal reform, except to further burden women and the poor. Their trickle-down economic beliefs are bolstered by fearmongering “eastern european socialism,” while tax cuts for the wealthy and off-shored businesses represent corporate socialism at the extreme. Hypocritical fools, they are.

  3. Paul Zabicki

    January 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    A lot of truth to the Dem’s comments. Not a card carrying liberal there are valid concerns with the Republican spin.

  4. Really

    January 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    So the bills that are advanced first are the sonogram requirement for women consideirng abortion and to verify doctors are following the law, hunting on Sunday, end the one gun a month rule.So where are the jobs in those proposals.

    Meanwhile the amount of money going to K-12 is reduced by the millions required to meet the VRS fine assessed to localities by the Governor and the General Assembly. Can you say the Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottinghman best describes the Governor’s budget. As bad as it is for WJCC, it is a harsh blow for Southwest Virginia and other poorer localities who have no local resources to fill the gaps.

    Call your local representative and tell them to work for the folks back home, not to position the Governor for VP. Stop stealing from localities becasue the majority cannot be honest about needed tough decisions.

  5. Bob

    January 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    The only way to cure the public school problem is through competition and that means vouchers for each child. Short of doing that the public school unions will demand ever more pay for ever shrinking results.

    And as far as the Democrat Party being socialist, the Communist Party USA sued the party in 2012 for stealing their ideas and intellectual property.

  6. kbar

    January 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Bob,
    Are there teacher unions in right-to-work VA?

    [quote name=”Bob”]The only way to cure the public school problem is through competition and that means vouchers for each child. Short of doing that the public school unions will demand ever more pay for ever shrinking results.

    And as far as the Democrat Party being socialist, the Communist Party USA sued the party in 2012 for stealing their ideas and intellectual property.[/quote]

  7. No unions in VA

    January 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    There are no teachers unions in Virginia. People who complain about this CLEARLY have no idea what they are talking about.

  8. Mom

    February 1, 2012 at 1:50 am

    There are no teachers unions here. Teachers who pay dues to the “union” simply do it for the liability insurance. That way if they get sued for doing their jobs, hopefully their own children are protected.

    Unions do not negotiation contracts, working conditions, etc.

    The problem is the VA Dept of Ed’s programs to “increase the quantity of teachers in Virginia”. Programs like Troops to Teachers which require a whopping three months of training for a veteran to become a teacher and Career Switchers which is equally rigorous.

    I have the utmost respect for our veterans and service members. However, teaching is a profession and a calling. It takes study and skill to be an accomplished teacher. Part of Virginia’s problem is the glut of teachers. Those who opted in with little training or as a “back-up” need to be removed so those who take it seriously and have degrees in the field can teach our children.

    [quote name=”Bob”]The only way to cure the public school problem is through competition and that means vouchers for each child. Short of doing that the public school unions will demand ever more pay for ever shrinking results.

    And as far as the Democrat Party being socialist, the Communist Party USA sued the party in 2012 for stealing their ideas and intellectual property.[/quote]

  9. a pointe of view

    February 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    and SMARTER citizens will remember the past lies and current lies of the Democrats :O(

  10. to Mom

    February 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Where do these teachers learn this “skill” through their educational course work or after they get into the classroom? Either way the other avenues to obtain a teachers license provides the same “skill” training either through the classes they take or after they get hired and are put into a classroom.

    I agree not everyone should enter the profession but please don’t bash those who choose to enter it another way who truly want to teach and help the students.

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