Commentary

It Was Always the Economy

Last year Virginia raised taxes nearly $1.4 billion to cover a “deficit” (it was caused by spending really — the budget has more than doubled in under 10 years!). The governor and his allies, which included Repubilcans in the Senate (one of which actually proposed a $4 billion tax hike) fought long and hard against the anti-tax House of Delegates who argued that spending restraint and a rebounding economy would solve the “crisis.” Of course, the sky was falling — and it was getting late in the year (the longest legilative session in the nearly 400 year history of the Commonwealth) and for some members (who’ve been in office for over 40 years) it was too long (17 Republican Delegates broke ranks and voted for the tax hike). One year later, revenues are back (the economy was rolling along and continues to do so) and a surplus has surged to $1.2 billion. Gov Warner has suggested told lawmakers that they “should limit spending of the largesse to one-time expenditures.” Here’s a one time expenditure: give it back to taxpayers! Sorry for the rant 🙂

Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.