Del. Steve Landes, he who championed the “long-standing tradition” of keeping tax decisions and budget decisions separate, is not my favorite Virginia delegate. But he has a point:

“There are legislators across the state, in the House and the Senate, who campaigned on the platform that they would not raise taxes, and then they went out and voted to do just that,” Landes said. “The question I have is, did something change between November and December to cause that turnaround? How can things change that fast to cause that sharp of a swing from one month to the next?

“The election was important for defining the issues that we were going to be facing,” Landes said. “This state hasn’t had a major tax increase since 1986. If this was coming down the road, as it clearly was, why was it that nobody was talking about it during the elections last fall?

“Elections are where these issues are supposed to be brought up and discussed. The voters have a right to know what’s going on, and they have a right to know so that they can decide which way they want to see things go,” Landes said.

The question remains how to have that conversation with voters who have an attention span of a gnat. It seems such a conversation requires 1/ time for the issue to be explored, 2/forums where such discussions can take place and attract voters and 3/ a press willing to investigate the tax issue in some depth. (Hint to The Washington Post: Maybe ask persons other than James Parmelee what they think).

I’m not suggesting that raising taxes should be on a candidates’ bumper stickers, but they certainly shouldn’t say they won’t consider it and then do so a few months later.

Virginia gays, probably wishing they lived in Massachusetts, plan to challenge our state’s new Marriage Affirmation Act. (An aside: My son, citing the Patriot Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, asked me last night why lawmakers seems to name laws in a way that imply the opposite of what they are intended to accomplish.)

But the law’s language has some concerned that it could effectively prohibit a variety of private contracts between two people of the same sex, regardless of their relationship.

The bill bans “a civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage.”

But, according to Dyana Mason, executive director of Equality Virginia, the state code does not define what the privileges and obligations of marriage are.

She fears that the bill’s language could prevent gay couples from naming each other in their wills, making each other the beneficiary of insurance policies, or writing medical directives that allow their partners to, for instance, visit them in the hospital.

…The bill’s sponsor, Del. Robert Marshall, R-Prince William County, said Equality Virginia’s plans to challenge the bill in court are “phony.”

“These people, they don’t want to convince anybody. They want to force their views on the rest of us; that’s why they’re going through the courts,” Marshall said.

Del. Marshall is reportedly barricading himself in his home to fend off any same sex marriage being forced on him. We pray that Equality Virginia keeps pressuring Marshall in hopes that he won’t come out of his house for the next Assembly session.

Tech is falling behind in research funding.

Roanoke Times takes on Bush’s tax and budget policies.

Will next year’s General Assembly session make this year’s look like a “slumber party” and argue the wrong issue?

Is this the real issue?

Gov. Warner was to hold another of his community forums this morning in Norfolk. You can catch him over next two days:

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Radford University
Cook Hall
Room #107
Jefferson Street entrance
Radford, Virginia

Thursday, May 20, 2004
Time: 12 pm
Location: Arlington County Courthouse Plaza
(government office building)
County Boardroom, Room #307
2100 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, Virginia