Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Leader Ward Armstrong Responds to Governor McDonnell’s State of the Commonwealth Address

Thanks to Brian Coy who has provided these talking points on last night’s State of the Commonwealth address. You can also see text of Del. Ward Armstrong’s “Democratic Response” here.

+In his speech the Governor did not cover any new territory, but he did restate his commitment to billions of dollars in debt and new spending without any explanation of how he plans to pay that money back.

+Virginia Democrats are working to create jobs, improve education, fix our transportation crisis and expand opportunity for every family. The Governor seems to agree with many of those goals, but his approach to meeting them is inconsistent with Virginia’s long tradition of balanced budgets and responsible fiscal leadership.

+Running up $3 billion in new debt for transportation with no way to pay for it is not the type of leadership Virginians expected when they elected him in 2009, and it is a direct affront to the message of the 2010 elections in which voters went to the polls and told their government to stop spending more money than it collects.

+We need more funding for transportation, education, job creation and a host of other priorities. However we cannot afford to pay for them in the short-term at the cost of our long-term economic health.

+During this session Democrats are going to advocate for solutions to the challenges we face that do not mortgage the future with billions of dollars of debt.

+The Governor should join Democrats’ call for fiscal responsibility and add to his agenda a sensible way of paying for his priorities. Billions of dollars in debt should not be the biggest legacy of Bob McDonnell’s administration.

+It’s interesting to note that the Governor did not spend hardly any time talking about his plan to privatize the state’s ABC Stores. That is obviously a reflection of the difficult time he is having finding support in the General Assembly for what amounts to a bad idea. We can’t afford to privatize an efficient and profitable system just because the Governor hopes we will break even on the deal, and I don’t think any Virginians think there is a pressing need to triple the number of stores that sell liquor in neighborhoods around the state.

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