Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):
I’m nine year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST), I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound.
In 2008 and 2013 I petitioned to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to leverage more money for affordable housing. I’ve also lobbied for a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets and chain drug stores and Styrofoam in food retail outlets. A ban bag is needed because all the bag tax bills introduced in the General Assembly to date have been defeated. Unlike a bag tax, which requires legislative approval, a bag ban is legal in Virginia right now, because the Virginia Waste Management Review Board calls the shots on waste reduction measures, not the legislature.
I think Arlington needs a change in leadership because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development. Nevertheless County Board continues to award developers with more density—50% more in Crystal City and Pentagon City alone. As a result, the supply of affordable housing in this county has been cut by two-thirds in one decade. This isn’t sustainable.
To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability also requires the County Board to create a housing authority to leverage more money for affordable housing, just like all the other jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are recycled out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.
- We don’t need an $80 million aquatic center, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
- We don’t need a $310 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
- We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
- We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.
If elected to the County Board, I will promote fiscal responsibility without sacrificing the health and welfare of its residents.
I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.com. Vote Clement for County Board on November 5th.
Here is the unedited response from Jay Fisette (D):
Dear Fellow Arlingtonians –
Arlington has evolved into a vibrant urban community that has retained our traditional sense of caring and connectedness. We boast top-notch services, outstanding public schools, a robust transportation system, low crime and the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia.
Many thoughtful people are responsible for today’s Arlington, and I am excited to continue to do my part to move our community forward. I am especially proud of my past efforts to maintain sound fiscal policies and support our public schools, and my leadership in developing our Community Energy Plan, Capital Bikeshare program, pedestrian safety improvements, affordable housing programs and e-government enhancements.
We face several challenges, including housing affordability, growing student enrollments, and the job losses resulting from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and from dysfunction in Congress. With the first two of these, we are victims of our own success – as Arlington is a desirable community to many, including more families with young children. I am prepared to tackle these issues and find creative, smart solutions that build on our assets. I am committed to thoughtful long-term planning and collaborative problem solving.
Protecting our Triple AAA bond rating and fiscal integrity is a priority. As a former auditor with the Government Accountability Office, I hate waste and will seek value for every dollar spent. I will balance the short-term budget decisions with the long-term capital infrastructure investments that will ensure our vitality and competitiveness in the future.
I am driven to create a sustainable community on all fronts, thus will work to implement Arlington’s energy reduction strategy. In 2010, I established a Community Energy & Sustainability Task Force, to take up the challenge of developing goals and concrete targets for reducing our energy use. Arlington now has an aggressive and achievable energy reduction strategy that will advance our economic competitiveness, enhance energy reliability and protect our environment. We will save residents and businesses money while enhancing our community’s sustainability.
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would ensure that approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers receive pay for the duration of the government shutdown, regardless of furlough status.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the legislation to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill, Moran said last week.
“[Saturday's] legislation guarantees that retroactive pay for our Federal employees will not become a political bargaining chip,” Moran said in a statement. “This is an issue of fairness. 800,000 federal employees are already weathering the effects of pay freezes, benefit cuts, and furloughs; and now, because of a dysfunctional Congress, they’ve had to worry about even receiving a paycheck.”
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the bill passed 407-0. Moran, however, used the occasion for another jab at congressional Republicans.
“I’m glad my friends across the aisle were able to put aside their ideological crusade to dismantle Obamacare and get behind this legislation,” he said, via press release. “Their approach has already wrought too much hardship and today’s vote ensures it won’t hit the family budgets of our civil servants.”
Also on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 300,000 Pentagon civilian employees who had been furloughed would return to work.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was frustrated with House Republicans Monday afternoon, just hours before a midnight deadline to reach a deal to keep the federal government from shutting down.
“It’s terribly unfair, it’s wrong and it’s irresponsible on the part of the majority of Congress,” Moran told ARLnow.com. “The idea that you would deprive 35 million of affordable health insurance for a minimum of a year in exchange for keeping the government open for another 45 days; that’s not a real negotiation. We can’t accept that.”
Moran said the chances of a shutdown were “pretty high,” and expressed dismay that his constituents would be among the hardest hit of any district in the country.
“I think [my constituents] know that I’m doing everything I can to keep the government funded,” he said. “I feel terrible that this kind of anxiety has been put on their shoulders through no fault of their own.”
Monday afternoon, President Obama said in a press conference that he was “not resigned” to the government shutdown, even after the U.S. Senate voted 54-46 to reject the House’s measure to delay a shutdown 45 days in exchange for delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for a year.
Moran said he has prepared a bill with bipartisan sponsors that, if the government were to shut down, “would drop at 12:01 a.m.” to ensure federal employees furloughed by the shutdown would receive retroactive pay. While Moran expects the bill to pass the Senate, he said he’s less sure about its chances in the GOP-controlled House.
“There are a lot of Republicans who want federal employees to be punished just because they work for the government,” he said. “These are the ones who are more often than not elected on the platform that government doesn’t work. They get elected, then they go about trying to prove it.”
The last time the government shut down was for 21 days in 1995 and 1996, during which time Moran was also in Congress. He said legislators who were there “swore they were never going to let it happen again.”
“I think the American people are going to appreciate the federal government more when they find they don’t have it,” Moran said.
State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, released a statement on Ted Olson and David Boies’ decision to join the legal team contesting the Marshall-Newman amendment, which defines marriage in Virginia as between a man and a woman.
“Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies are among America’s finest legal minds and I am delighted that they are putting their talents to use in seeking to strike down of the Commonwealth’s draconian Marshall-Newman amendment,” Ebbin said in a statement “It is not a question of whether marriage equality will come to Virginia; it is a question of when.”
The American Foundation for Equal Rights announced today that Olson and Bostic had joined the legal challenge. The organization hopes the suit reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down California’s Proposition 8, but left the power of defining marriage to the states.
Ebbin has previously spoken out condemning state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, for his anti-gay stances.
With the resolution passed by the Board, Arlington joins the environmental advocacy nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity’s campaign to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to “make full use of the Clean Air Act” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Arlington is the 70th municipality to endorse the campaign, a list that includes Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
From the CBD’s press release:
“President Obama took another step last week toward deploying the Clean Air Act against greenhouse gas pollution, and now is the moment to push the federal government for ambitious action,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “Arlington’s leaders, like people in communities around the country, understand the dangers of climate change and are urging action through the passage of this resolution. To avert climate chaos, we must make full use of the Clean Air Act.”
With 32 heat records broken, 2012 was the third-hottest year ever recorded for Virginia. Rising temperatures bring the threat of additional heat-related illness and deaths, increased air pollution and drought. Just last week, coastal Virginia mayors and other local elected officials gathered in Williamsburg to call for increased state action on climate in light of serious local impacts, including flooding and sea level rise.
The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working around the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and using the Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say we must reach in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor had their first debate of the year last night (Tuesday) at George Mason University’s Arlington campus.
The debate gave Arlington residents a chance to see polarizing Republican candidate E.W. Jackson, who has made headlines since earning the GOP nomination by making disparaging comments about gays and lesbians, comparing Democrats to slavemasters and saying yoga could lead people to Satan.
Jackson, a nondenominational minister from Chesapeake, defended those comments as protected speech and explained that how he speaks in sermons, during which many of the comments were made, would not be how he would govern.
“I think we’ve got to watch this. What this really amounts to is a religious test,” he said. “The same thing they tried to do John Kennedy, the same thing they tried to do with Mitt Romney… its not his religion that matters, what matters is how he governs.”
Democratic candidate Ralph Northam said he was “offended” by many of the remarks Jackson has made during the campaign, asserting that there can’t be a distinction for a public official.
“What I do in church carries with me to what I do in everyday life,” Northam said. “Making statements against the LGBT community, saying they’re sick individuals, making statements against Democrats, saying they’re anti-god, anti-family, anti-life, those statements… are offensive. They have no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s not the state that I love and that’s not the state that you love.”
Perhaps Jackson’s most controversial statement of the night was suggesting more mentally ill patients should be housed in institutions, leading to WUSA reporter Peggy Fox, the debate’s moderator, to press him on the issue.
“I don’t want to scare you, but I’ve got some mentally ill people in my family, and they need help,” Jackson said. “You can’t just cast them aside. You can’t pretend that they don’t need something more than an occasional visit to a doctor or a hospital. They do need something more. They need to be housed, they need to be taken care of.”
Northam, a pediatric neurologist from Norfolk who has served in the state senate the last six years, countered Jackson’s statements.
“How sad to think you would visit [your family members] in an institution,” he said. “We can do better than that in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The loyalties of the crowd at GMU’s Founders Hall auditorium was considerably mixed, and several moments from each candidate drew loud cheers. Northam and Jackson both spoke passionately on the subject of abortion, the potential for Medicaid expansion in Virginia via the Affordable Care Act and ethics reform. Fox asked Jackson if he would enact ethics reform to prevent scandals like Gov. Bob McDonnell’s impermissible gifts scandal from happening again.
“We have found out about these indiscretions, so something obviously worked, because we know about them,” Jackson said. “I am willing to consider anything that will make the public’s trust in government greater… I am always skeptical of adding layer upon layer and law upon law because what we really need to do is elect people who want to serve.”
The AHS, an Arlington-based nonprofit “working to increase the supply of affordable housing in Arlington County and Northern Virginia through research, public education, and advocacy,” doesn’t believe that the housing authority the referendum would form would benefit the community.
AHS issued the following statement about the referendum:
The Alliance for Housing Solutions is urging Arlington voters to reject the proposed Redevelopment and Housing Authority referendum that is on the ballot this November. Arlington faces significant challenges to housing affordability. However, AHS believes that an Authority would not solve this problem and would, in fact, have a negative impact.
“Arlington has long used an innovative public, private, & non-profit partnership approach to the creation and management of affordable housing in our community,” said AHS President Mary Margaret Whipple. “This successful approach has allowed Arlington to access financial tools and state and federal funding in order to create mixed-income communities, while avoiding the costs of running a housing authority.”
Using this highly successful strategy, Arlington has created more affordable housing units per 1,000 people than any other county in Northern Virginia, including those with housing authorities. It also is the only jurisdiction in Virginia to offer County-funded rental assistance through the Housing Grants program.
“As they have twice before, Arlington voters should reject the Redevelopment and Housing Authority referendum,” Whipple added. “A new authority would not increase the availability of affordable housing units, and would actually stall progress by pitting a housing authority against our highly successful non-profits for the same funding.”
AHS urged a broader community dialogue about the critical need for affordable housing. By working together, especially through the Affordable Housing Study process, supporters of affordable housing can work together to find solutions and raise awareness.
“There are no easy solutions,“ said AHS Executive Director Mary Rouleau. “As a community we must be willing to consider, for example, putting affordable units on public land and increased density along transit routes.”
AHS released a Question-and-Answer document, responding to the key positions of the housing authority backers. It can be found on its website: AllianceforHousingSolutions.
Issues like the Columbia Pike streetcar and the housing authority referendum were at the forefront last night during the Arlington Civic Federation’s annual candidates’ forum.
The debate between County Board member Jay Fisette and Green Party challenger Audrey Clement was the night’s most divisive, with Clement challenging the streetcar project and the Board’s fiscal policies.
“I pledge to raise no taxes,” Clement said, “Repeal last year’s tax increase… and authorize an inspector general for the county’s budget.”
Clement again voiced her support for the referendum to create a housing authority, which Fisette and other Board members oppose. Fisette defended the Board’s actions, asserting that the tax increases were largely to pay for the increase in school enrollment and the streetcar “fulfills the vision of the revitalization of Columbia Pike.”
“I will ensure that Arlington continues to be a community that respects the differences among us,” he said. “I believe that there’s more to do, and I have more to give.”
Six races were represented during the forum: Fisette’s Board seat, James Lander’s School Board seat, and the 45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th District races for the House of Delegates. Lander and Del. Robert Brink (D-48) are running unopposed, and each gave two-minute speeches and took one question from the floor. Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) did not have an opponent to debate at the forum after it was revealed that independent candidate Jeffrey Engle was not in attendance.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) and Libertarian challenger Laura Delhomme — participating in her first debate — fielded questions about affordable housing, wind energy and their thoughts on the Republican state ticket. No Republican is running for any seat, state or local, in Arlington.
“I’m not a socially liberal Republican, I’m not a fiscally conservative Democrat,” said Delhomme, who suggested repealing the state income tax and the Virginia Marriage Amendment.
Hope advocated for transferring more of Virginia’s energy from coal and natural gas to wind power and discussed how difficult it was to make progress in the General Assembly.
“In my first four years in office, I’ve learned that change can be very difficult,” Hope said. “Getting government out of our bedrooms and our doctor’s offices has divided our state and our parties.”
In the final debate of the night, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), running in his first re-election bid, and Independent Green Party candidate Terrence Modglin, showed the starkest disagreement, particularly on abortion. Modglin supports greater restrictions on abortion.
“I think the laws and regulations enacted, the intent of them was to, regardless of what the language was, reduce the number of abortions in Virginia and I think that’s a good thing in terms of public policy,” Modglin said.
Following Modglin’s response, Lopez looked slightly taken aback. He shook his head before he responded.
“A woman’s right to choose is non-negotiable,” Lopez said. “The [transvaginal ultrasound] legislation put up…was a travesty. It made us a laughing stock on the national stage. I will definitely fight these backdoor ways of reducing a person’s access to contraception.”
Election Day is on Nov. 5. The forum, held at Virginia Hospital Center’s Hazel auditorium, is organized every year as the unofficial start to Arlington’s fall campaign season.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called the Orange Line corridor in Arlington “the core of startups in Washington” during a Q&A with entrepreneurs in Rosslyn today (Thursday).
Warner spoke to several dozen attendees at ÜberOffices (1400 Key Blvd) as part of “Startup Across America” Day, focusing on ways to boost the local startup economy, which has been a driver of job growth in the area.
Warner suggested the local and state governments provide discounts on rent and incentives to preserve the startup community in Arlington. He also spoke against over-regulation of crowdfunding and in favor of additional funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education.
During the wide-ranging talk, Warner addressed several other issues facing entrepreneurs and young people — a group that is overlapping more and more in Arlington — such as Bitcoin, entitlement reform and the national debt.
“You guys are up a creek,” Warner said. The national debt of “$17 trillion is a big number, even for the United States.”
Members of the audience asked questions about the Keystone XL pipeline and how Big Data has changed political campaigns. Warner, who was a co-founder of Nextel and a founder of Columbia Capital, a venture capitalist firm in Alexandria, said the young, tech-savvy generation has better answers to the new technology questions, even from a policy standpoint, than he or his colleagues in Congress do.
“This is the future of the economy,” Warner said. “[Entrepreneurs] are the future employers of the region. I can learn from them as much as they can learn from me.”
The issue Warner focuses most on in the Senate is the budget, and when one of the audience members asked him about the budget, he spread his arms wide, smiled, and said, “thank you for asking me that question.” He then delved in to how the U.S. accumulated its deficit, citing Bush-era tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan funded on credit, additional funds into entitlements and longer life expectancy.
“Medicare and Social Security are great programs,” Warner said, “but the math doesn’t work anymore.”
Warner, a moderate Democrat, had a few nuggets of advice for the crowd on how they can personally try improve national politics.
“If you’re frustrated with politics, don’t vote for anyone who signs one of those stupid pledges,” he said, acknowledging both parties. “Turn off Fox News and MSNBC, they both lie.”
Warner spoke in favor of reforming congressional redistricting by making it a process independent of politics. Politically driven redistricting is at least partially responsible for the current hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill, he said.
Warner also encouraged the audience to vote across the aisle on issues they believe in — voting for Republicans who aren’t opposed to raising taxes and Democrats who are open to entitlement reform.
Closing the discussion, Warner encouraged the crowd of mostly 20- and 30-somethings to contribute to the Commonwealth by building successful businesses here.
“Make a whole lot of money and stay in Virginia,” he said, smiling. “Don’t even think about moving to D.C.”
Is NSA leaker Edward Snowden a heroic defender of liberty or a reckless turncoat?
Fein — who served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan Administration and called for the impeachment of President Obama in 2011 — is an outspoken supporter of Snowden and his disclosure of massive government surveillance programs. He also serves as the attorney for Snowden’s father.
Fein compared Snowden to Paul Revere at the Monday night event. That angered one woman in the audience, whose husband is on active duty in the military.
“[Snowden] has put military members like my husband, who is deployed overseas, in danger,” she said during the question-and-answer portion of the event. “If you ask people in the military intelligence community whether they consider him a whistleblower or a traitor, I can tell you overwhelmingly, they consider him a traitor.”
Fein was unapologetic.
“Your husband shouldn’t be there at all, he’s there because of a violation of the Constitution,” he said. “I think the greater crime was flouting the Constitution and sending people to send unconstitutional wars not for our liberty but for people who have no loyalty to the United States whatsoever and never will.”
Charles Hokanson, chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee, took exception to Fein’s response, writing on Facebook at the time: “He just offended a military spouse so badly with his cavalier attitude to the safety of our soldiers abroad fighting in places he doesn’t think we belong that she just left the room.”
“I asked him to write her a letter of apology,” he continued. “I hope he does!”
A letter from Fein was later posted on the event’s Facebook page, sparking an intra-party debate over whether the letter was sufficiently apologetic or necessary in the first place. The discussion included more than 120 posts as of last night, but had been removed as of this morning.
Video via Bruce Majors
Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will appear at George Mason University’s Arlington campus next week to discuss the future of energy policy in the Commonwealth.
The event, called the Virginia Energy and Opportunity Forum, will be held Thursday, Aug. 29 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Founders Hall (3351 N. Fairfax Drive) and is free and open to the public, as long as audience members reserve a seat. From a press release:
From the debate over offshore drilling, to the future of coal and the opportunities presented by renewable energy, Virginia’s next Governor will have a lot of important decisions to make when it comes to energy policy.
The public is invited to attend Virginia Energy & Opportunity Forum... for the chance to to hear directly from both of their gubernatorial candidates – Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) — as they lay out their respective visions for Virginia’s energy future.
This forum is sponsored by Consumer Energy Alliance. Welcome and candidate introduction by David Hart, George Mason University Acting Senior Associate Dean, School of Public Policy.
According to GMU spokeswoman Toni Andrews, the candidates will be taking questions from two different panels and will appear separately.
The election was held this past Sunday. Omara-Alwala had been the YDA vice president since 2011, and her “progress” party swept the election at the YDA annual convention in San Antonio.
Omara-Alwala is a Richmond native, a 2003 graduate of the University of Virginia with a Master’s in public policy from George Mason. She worked for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) when he was governor, and currently works as a consultant and nonprofit manager.
She was elected on a platform of training young Democrats for campaigns or political office, re-establishing a “National YDA Lobbying Day” and “collaborating with targeted Democratic campaigns to increase outreach to major constituencies including women, Latinos, African Americans and labor-affiliated voters.”
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.)
Arlington Democrats hosted the entire statewide Democratic ticket at their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner Saturday night.
The party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general give passionate campaign speeches. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, arrived late but closed the event with the keynote address, touching on the effects sequestration will continue to have on Virginia’s economy, noting Arlington’s place as a hub for defense jobs, in particular.
“The stakes have never been higher,” McAuliffe told the crowd of several hundred local political leaders and donors. “You want a governor who knows the ups and downs of business.”
Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman delivered the first speech of the event, held annually at the Westin in Ballston, chronicling the past 12 months in Arlington politics.
“We have had an amazing last year,” said Lieberman, who is in his final year as chair of the local party. “We went eight-for-eight in general elections on three different election days.”
The dinner — which cost $125 a plate for the general public and $250 for VIPs — is the organization’s biggest fundraising event. The Dems also raised money with a silent auction during the dinner.
Through June 30, McAuliffe has raised almost $12.7 million, compared to almost $7.7 million for his Republican opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Federal Election Commission. Lieutenant governor candidate, state Sen. Ralph Northam, has raised more than $2 million compared to $390,683 raised by his GOP opponent, E.W. Jackson, and Attorney General candidate Sen. Mark Herring has raised $1.6 million to Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain’s $1.2 million.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) gave a fiery speech after Lieberman, lambasting the Republicans in the House of Representatives who he said have been obstructionists, hurting the country by blocking meaningful legislation.
“There’s always going to be people who want plunder villages for their own benefit,” Moran said.
Herring and Northam spoke in more tempered tones than Moran and McAuliffe, emphasizing their strongest issues — Herring on the social issues that have come to the fore in Cuccinelli’s tenure as Attorney General, Northam on the Chesapeake Bay and healthcare.
“I will be a bulwark against the radicalization of Mark Obenshain, E.W. Jackson and Ken Cuccinelli,” Herring said.
Monday afternoon, the Republican Party of Virginia issued a response to the Democrats’ speeches.
“It’s only fitting Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring all landed on the ticket together, because they support higher taxes, more spending and burdensome regulations,” said Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia. “With liberals like McAuliffe, Northam and Herring wanting to usher in a new era of job-killing tax hikes, Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican Party are advocating pro-growth economic policies that will lower taxes and create jobs for Virginians.”
McAuliffe also spent time talking about the state’s transportation issues, commending Gov. Bob McDonnell on his work to pass the state’s new transportation bill. He railed against Virginia’s low pay of teachers, and promised to opt into the Medicaid expansion clause of the Affordable Care Act.
Concluding his remarks, McAuliffe said he plans to be the one to break the Virginia’s habit, since 1977, of electing a governor from the opposite party of the President of the United States.
“I have to stop a 40-year jinx,” he said. ”Whoever wins the White House, the other party has won the governor’s race, but I’m going to break it.”
The bill would extend the Federal Offset Program to local governments. The program currently helps 42 states and Washington, D.C. to collect funds from delinquent taxpayers by reducing — or “offsetting” — their federal tax refund.
The bill, if passed, would be a triumph for Arlington Treasurer Frank O’Leary, who has advocated for such a tax-collecting tool on the local level.
“This is a win-win program for all levels of government and those who regularly pay their taxes,” O’Leary said in a press release. ”Passage of this legislation could mean hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for local governments without increasing the tax burden on those who faithfully pay their fair share of taxes.”
“This bill offers a unique opportunity not just to provide needed, owed funds, at no cost to the federal government, it also protects honest taxpayers from an increase in local property taxes,” Moran said. “The federal government has done this successfully with states and we should provide the same partnership to local governments looking for relief.”
The federal government will collect a $25 fee from localities for each offset request. In Fiscal Year 2010, the Federal Offset Program collected more than $400 million in delinquent taxes to the states enrolled, Moran’s office said.