Today's entry comes from Tom Graham, who's been closely following the doings of the Virginia General Assembly.
One of the reasons politics fascinates me is because different people can view the exact same phenomenon in completely different ways. What one sees as an unfathomable paradox, another reads as supremely logical and fair.
House of Delegates Member Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge) reminded me of this recently.
We were talking about the ongoing debate in Richmond over coping with a more than 4 billion dollar revenue shortfall.
According to House Republicans, and Governor Bob McDonnell, a number of jobs bills the governor has championed in the midst of the budget crisis will create 29,000 new jobs.
But Democrats claim that funding reductions Republicans have pushed through the House would mean elimination of more than 34 thousand jobs in Education and Health Care fields alone. To say nothing of other job losses coming from GOP favored spending cuts in other areas of state government.
Is that a paradox ?
Here’s what Ben had to say when I asked him:
“I asked a Democrat friend of mine, when that claim came up during the budget debate on the House floor, whether they differentiate between public sector jobs and private sector jobs. Those that are funded through taxpayer dollars, and those that are not.
The Democrat really did not differentiate. And I tend to.
I tend to believe that those jobs that are borne of the necessity of the public interest to provide those core government services are important. But that the private sector jobs are the lifeblood of our economy.
Those [private sector jobs] are the jobs that we should be striving to create.
And we must do all we can. And if it comes to losing public funded government jobs to support those private sector jobs, then that’s what we have to do.
It is incumbent upon us to make sure our economy recovers quickly. That jobs are created in the private sector.
And by keeping taxes low, streamlining government spending, and eliminating waste and inefficiency -- and if that means eliminating public sector jobs, so be it. Then that’s what we need to do.”
By the way, just how state government will end up dealing with its more than $4 billion shortfall is supposed to be decided before the end of next week.
That is when the House/Senate Conference Committee -- now working to hammer out a final budget compromise -- is due to finish its work.
To find contact info for your state Senator and Delegate, click here.
If anyone has suggestions about what to cut -- or NOT cut -- from the state budget, this would be the time to make sure your state lawmakers hear your voice.
Note from Tom DuVal: Close to home, the General Assembly is also working on funding for public radio and television, and for Radio Reading Services for the print-impaired (which includes WMRA's Valley Voice service). The House budget zeros out state funding entirely. The Senate version has a 15% cut, which would be upwards of $20,000 for WMRA/Valley Voice - which we think is a fairer share for us to carry.