Moral Contradictions

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kenney and his promises

Apparently Shaun Kenney (running against Bobby Orrock in the 54th district Republican primary) has concluded from his research of posting to FredTalk and talking to people who think his opponent is "just slightly less liberal than the Democrats" and has made two promises which I personally believe will be very difficult to carry out, or at least carry out well.

1. He wants to pass a law that says life begins at conception.

2. Wants a "taxpayer bill of rights" that caps local property tax increases by 5% and repeal the $1.4 billion increase from last year.

His opponent, Bobby Orrock, contends on the first point that legislators shouldn't pass laws that the medical community doesn't even agree on. My problems are first and foremost: What exactly will this bill accomplish?

When exactly will conception be defined? If the morning after pill is a target, conception doesn't always occur immediately but can take several days. If abortion is the target then the bill is in for a rough time.

For the second point, Orrock raises a valid point: Depriving the state government of needed revenues and depriving local government of their most important source of funding is not fiscally responsible.

First, the obvious question: What gets cut? Head start programs? Are we going to put state troopers with families to support on food stamps (again that's inherently fiscally irresponsible), are we going to increase college tuition even more? For local areas, especially Spotsylvania, how are you going to take care of the dire transportation and land-use quagmire that is the Route 3 corridor?

Additionally, the car-tax repeal has already stressed local governments because that was the other way to get revenue. Now they must rely on the state to give them that money. Without sufficient real-estate tax revenue and a state budget decrease, how is Spotsylvania going to pay for the school voucher program and tax credits you're proposing? You can't promise increased services with decreased revenues without explaining how you will pay for them.

Finally, the most obvious flaw that's been discussed in various parts of the blogosphere: Limiting the real-estate tax increase isn't enough - counties can just assess your home even higher to make up the difference. That fact is fairly transparent to voters. Besides, why not leave that debate up to the gubernatorial candidates? Focus on issues pertninent to your district... real issues that affect daily life and then explain how you will pay for them and enanct them.

By painting himself as yet another radical Dick Black-wannabe and not answering how he proposes to actually pay for his "taxpayer bill of rights", Kenney has revealed that should he be elected, the 54th district will receive a legislator who garners a lot of press coverage without results.

Note to all politicians: It's one thing to make promises to get elected (hint: stating that you're not making promises "just to get elected" is like when I get a credit card offer and the envelope says "Do Not Discard", I see right through the bunk... ) but Richmond often serves as a wake-up call. The state is mandated to balance its budget, and local governments are tired of having the burden pushed on them. Folks like me are also tired of all this time spent on issues that don't affect me or 99% of everyone else.

Why not focus on ways to provide health insurance to people who can't afford it? Why not focus on ways to create affordable housing (I want to move back up to Fredericksburg but currently cannot afford to buy a house there)? Why not work on ways to better public education (instead of offering band-aid solutions)?

As a FredTalk user said: "...as a conservative, I am pretty uncomfortable with Shaun's candidacy... I don't think District 54 needs an inexperienced delegate who needs to do some serious learning on the job."

3 Comments:

  • Nathan,

    I just happened across your blog while searching yahoo for info on the 54th election. I've now read all your posts on Kenney and his replies. I must say you seem to be playing up feigned ignorance for all its worth.

    If Kenney's posts (which I would love to read as well) were deleted per the forums own policies, so be it. If Kenney decides to cancel his account, so be it. If I had to guess, I'd imagine he's now too busy to post 11 times a day.

    More importantly, you seem to be mistaken regarding the roles of your legislature. You've said above that Kenney's conception and tax ideas are better left to the gubernatorial candidates. As you are aware, the governor does not pass laws. His powers are limited to signing laws and exerting political influence on the state legislature (the job for which Kenney is applying).

    BTW, I'm not sure what the conception bill accomplishes either. However, it is a state issue and Kenney is running for a state job. If he were running for the School Board, I would agree that its outside his realm or responsibility.

    As for the tax-break, we'll all just have to disagree. Gov. Warner (D) and the conservatives are claiming a huge budget surplus as a result of last year's tax hikes. Even the Governor was saying that we should give the money back. Kenney's idea is not that far-fetched or unpopular among either party.

    I believe for Orrock and the rest of the Republicans who broke ranks, such a tax break would be seen as a personal loss. They passed this increase without the consent of their party and now they'd have to say they asked for too much.

    Lastly, I find your take on our local issues interesting. In one paragraph, you tell of the local government woes under the car-tax cut. In the very next paragraph, you state that we should cap the real estate tax/assesments, limitting local government revenues. Huh? Is this just a case of "tax the other guy" syndrome?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    By Anonymous Andrew, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 9:20:00 AM  

  • Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for taking the time to go through all of that and your comments...

    Just for the record, if you take a look over at the latest goings-ons over at FredTalk, Shaun Kenney was the last person they allowed to whole-sale delete one's post. One had to specifically ask for it. Now if you cancel your account they stay and the poster has no option but to leave them there. Proof straight from FredTalk. There's a difference between simply ceasing one's posting due to time constraints and asking the FredTalk administrators to delete all of your posts.

    As for how the state government works, I'm well aware of the processes... thanks for the lesson. I apologize if my history degree and dearth of classes in political science and one specifically on Virginia government didn't come through. I was only offering an opinion that it maybe wasn't the wisest decision to make an end-run around Kilgore... primarily focus on more local issues (yes he'll be in a state office but he'll be representing the 54th) and how they affect the 54th and let the true state-wide candidates focus on state-wide issues. Just an opinion.

    No one really seems to understand the car tax and how local government's get their revenue. Maybe you misunderstood me or I didn't make myself clear, for I do not advocate limiting government revenues... Shaun Kenney said that. When I took Local and State government under Dr. Robert Holsworth at VCU last spring, he tried to explain how the car tax worked. I'll do my best to recall...

    When the car tax repeal went through, local governments had to get the revenue somewhere... they couldn't go without that money. Thus, they arranged to get it from the state. Technically, all taxpayers still paid the car-tax, just through indirect means via state taxes instead of directly to their local government. When Shaun Kenney proposed limiting real-estate assesments and fully repealing the car-tax, I charged that he's putting a double burden on local governments. They would have less direct tax money (complete loss of the car-tax and reduced revenue from real-estate assessments) and would have to rely on the state to make up the difference.

    If you were able to wade through all that wonkishness, congratulations. I apologize if I didn't make myself clear. I fully understand how state and local governments work... my concern is that Shaun Kenney doesn't.

    By Blogger Nathan, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 10:02:00 AM  

  • Oh, and for the record regarding the posting, Shaun Kenney lied to me about the posts. He said when one cancels/deletes their account, the posts are deleted. Lie.

    Also, for more talk on how he misrepresented SB 1338, I refer you to the FredTalk thread about that. He said it was anti-family... yet it was the most pro-family legislation that you could find this session. If a worker wanted to insure a grandparent living with him or whatever, he could do it in any other state except Virginia. This bill rectified it. As for the whole "family" and "groups" controversy, that pertained just to how the bill needed to be worded to come in line with insurance practices.

    I'm not so concerned about his true grasp of knowledge on these bills and how the government works as he's a very smart guy. I'm concerned about his misrepresentation of bills and issues, his lies to me, and his cover-up with his FredTalk postings.

    By Blogger Nathan, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 10:13:00 AM  

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