In today’s loony tune world of bizarro politics, Virginia is undergoing a profound shift in the narrative that has left many scratching their heads and could have big implications for Old Dominion. A recent article by Chris Braunlich at Bacon’s Rebellion gets into the details, the implications of which could be super interesting for Virginia car lovers.
First Up: Taxes and the Virginia Budget Battle
Virginia is at the center of a heated debate surrounding its budget and tax policies. Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposal to utilize a $5.1 billion surplus has ignited a clash of ideologies. His plan aims to channel around 20% of this surplus back to taxpayers through permanent tax rate reform, while the remainder is allocated to critical areas such as education, behavioral health, and law enforcement. On the opposing side, Senate Democrats advocate for an all-in expenditure, offering taxpayers a mere one-time rebate while securing their stake in future tax revenue.
This budget battle reveals a classic philosophical tug-of-war: the government’s view that resources are its prerogative to spend as they wish versus taxpayers’ belief that where their hard-earned money goes deserves due consideration.
Tackling Rising Costs: The Tax Conundrum
The recently published VCU Wilder Commonwealth University Poll, provides a snapshot of public sentiment. A resounding issue takes precedence in the minds of Virginians – the surging cost of living. The poll data showcases a two-to-one preference for addressing inflation, transcending demographics and including even a significant percentage of Independents.
Braunlich contends that this pressing concern can be mitigated through judicious tax reforms. Adjusting the tax code to inflation, elevating the standard deduction to match federal changes, and modifying the top tax rate are all potential avenues to alleviate the tax burden on citizens.
The Climate Change Disconnect
But it’s the Democrats’ insistence on pushing anti-growth climate change policies is where the rubber really meets the road. Braunlich points out that while the majority of respondents to the VCU poll claim no experience with the impact of climate change, Virginia Dems are pressing forward with aggressive climate change “mitigation” measures, nonetheless.
The most contentious is the ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles. In 2021, Virginia Democrats passed legislation adopting California’s rules phasing out sales of cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) by 2035. Known as “ICE bans,” the rules push electric vehicles despite their higher costs, lack of charging infrastructure, and complete disregard for other alternatives.
The ridiculous policy passed by Democrats and signed by Governor Ralph Northam shows a complete disconnect between the public sentiment of Virginia voters and the Commonwealth’s elected officials. Youngkin has vowed to repeal the ban if Republicans win back the Senate this November.
The Education Disconnect
The VCU poll also sheds light on the total dissonance and disconnect between the Democratic Party and the concerns of their traditional support base, Black and Hispanic voters. On education, the traditionally reliable voting bloc for Dems are understandably furious about the school shutdowns during COVID. Yet, despite the anger, Dems are seemingly overlooking the concerns, adding to the perception that the party has completely lost touch with its constituents.
Is Virginia a Bellwether?
As the political landscape continues to evolve, Virginia could stand as a microcosm of the larger national discourse. As Braunlich points out, it was conservatives who used to be called “the stupid party.” But today the moniker is increasingly being applied to elite, disconnected, largely urban liberal elected officials who are steamrolling the will of constituents in the foolish belief they know what’s best for us.
November will tell us just how Virginia voters really feel, but our guess is that a continued devotion to extremist policies that ignore even the most rock-solid base of Democratic Party voters is not a recipe for victory.