It’s a well established fact of history that when Mark Warner ran for governor in 2001, he looked into the camera during his debate with Mark Early and disputed Early’s claim that Warner was going to raise our taxes. Warner flatly denied it.
When he took office he cleverly tried to raise taxes through the back door via regional sales taxes referenda in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia which would have ostensibly funded transportation projects in those regions. Each lost decisively.
Emboldened by his loss, Mr. Warner a year later, blatantly decided on a full frontal attack. He and his Sundance Kid, RINO then-Senator John Chichester, rammed through a statewide tax increase, Virginia’s largest ever, for everything but transportation. Their cry was that the Commonwealth was short on cash for core services, such as public safety and education. If nothing else, it proved another lie that the mainstream media nary expounds on: Warner was dead-set determined to raise taxes on someone, somehow, for any reason, campaign promise charade and all. Perhaps he needed to burnish his liberal credentials. Believe me, they already were firmly established. Just like Butch and Sundance: see a bank, gotta rob it. Money, especially when it’s someone else’s, is addictive, you know. The change in direction from transportation emergency to public safety and education crisis only deepened the plot: He was looking for anything he could sell that the public would buy. Transportation wouldn’t get them to part with their hard-earned money, but the scare tactic of police lay-offs and kids getting no education might work. It did. By the way, we didn’t hear much from Mr. Warner about a transportation crisis then, did we?
It truly is another matter if a politician says one thing while campaigning and the facts on the ground later make for a radically different situation. This wasn’t the case at all. Hence more deception and fraud. Mr. Warner claimed he inherited a deficit. Not true. Virginia law prohibits it. His predecessor, former Governor Jim Gilmore, his opponent now in the U.S. Senate campaign, made — by law — the cuts necessary when Sundance Chichester couldn’t come to an agreement on budget amendments with House Republicans.
Adding insult (to our intelligence) to injury (to our bank accounts) Mr. Warner misled Virginians again when he said he cut spending and there was nothing left to cut. Is that why spending increased dramatically during his term, from $23.48 billion to $32 billion? (That is about a 30 percent increase.) This truly is where white becomes black and black becomes white.
But his greatest whopper was that the tax increase — at $1.4 billion, Virginia’s largest ever — was needed for a short fall for the next budget year. Time and time again he and his finance secretary presented figures to the General Assembly showing a slow down in tax receipts. Not only was there enough money coming in, but Warner’s conception of a short fall wasn’t a budget deficit, but a short fall in his own over-inflated revenue projections. As it was, a few weeks after he signed that largest-tax-increase-in-Virginia-history, he revealed we had a $1 billion surplus.
So, let’s review: Lie about not seeking a tax increase by trying to get the state’s two most populous regions to approve a sales tax hike; lie that it is needed for transportation; prove that lie by lying the next year by telling us we needed an even larger tax increase for public safety and education. (Did transportation cure itself?) Lie about inheriting a budget deficit when Virginia law proves you’re wrong. Then lie about cutting spending when, in fact, the figures show you increased spending. Lie that the next budget is in deficit when it is only your own inflated revenue projections that are the problem even though they came in $1 billion above what was needed to cover the budget. Now say you “straightened out the mess in Richmond.” More than a con artist but without the lethal force used for a bank robbery. Somewhere between Old West gunnies and Marc Rich. There it is. Mark Warner, in his own unique class.
With Warner’s concerted effort of deception (and the re-writing of history) it is no wonder Governor Tim Kaine thinks he also can get away with it raising taxes despite his 2005 campaign no tax pledge:
“We just had a tax increase. I’m not going to be in for another one.”