Jerry Kilgore’s plan to toughen domestic violence sentences is not a bad idea. But as with his good and bad ideas, he proposes no way to pay for it.

As for how much the legislative package will cost, Kilgore was short on specifics on the Tuesday conference call.

“You just won’t know until judges and people start using it,” Kilgore said. “I’ve seen huge financial impact statements come back, speaking from 10 years of experience in the criminal-justice system in Virginia, and it doesn’t end up being anywhere near that. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

Same thing with his plan for better pay for teachers. Good idea but no plan to pay for it.

“I think we ought to pay our better teachers better pay,” he said. Evaluations of teachers should include peer evaluation, teacher testing and parental evaluation, Kilgore said after his talk to Sabato’s class.
“You don’t have to be a proponent of tax increases to support more money for education,” Kilgore said. “You simply have to make it a priority” and boost the state’s overall economy by being an aggressive promoter of economic development, he said.

Simply make it a priority and the state’s economy responds. Magic!

At least with Kilgore’s proposals for helping poor children get a good education, he’s more intellectually honest. Which is to say “Screw them, let them get their own help.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore told University of Virginia students yesterday that he is opposed to school vouchers but favors a system that encourages private donations to help send poor children in failing schools to better schools.

Kilgore said the system would use tax credits or tax write-offs to encourage private contributions that would provide tuition-assistance grants to poor students who want to go to private schools or public schools outside their district.

He said the plan would give parents whose child is in a failing school the same choice as parents who are wealthy or who live in good school districts.

Kilgore has not spelled out the details of this plan yet.

Asked if the tax-credit plan would divert tax money from public education, Kilgore said, “It won’t take money away from public education. You have to make education funding a priority. . . . And the tax policy on the other side will be a great benefit to parents and kids in failing schools.”

If anyone can figure out that last quote, let me know.

Seems Kaine’s campaign is on to what should be their refrain whenever Kilgore promises something for nothing. But they’d be better off eliminating the cute phrases (“cheap on crime”)that can get lifted when their more complete answers are better.

Delacey Skinner, the spokesperson for the campaign of presumptive Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Tim Kaine, raised issue with the lack of specifics from the Kilgore camp on the funding issue.

“The lieutenant governor certainly supports being tough on domestic violence. The point that we’re trying to emphasize here is that you can’t be tough on crime and cheap on crime at the same time,” Skinner told The Augusta Free Press.

“It’s one thing to say that you support measures to be tough on crime, but clearly to be tough on crime, you need to pay for training and support of law-enforcement officers who can do the job on the front lines. And you can’t do that when you’ve opposed every effort that has been made in recent years to provide money to pay for the public-safety officers, judges and parole officers needed to enforce the law,” Skinner said.

Say it over and over again.

Meanwhile, Kilgore is acting like a Democrat on the Schiavo case when it comes to Tom DeLay. That is he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions. Or maybe he doesn’t have any.

Former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore isn’t defending the Texas congressman who leads his party in the U.S. House of Representatives but also is not explicitly joining calls for his ouster.

After speaking Wednesday to a University of Virginia politics class, Kilgore politely sidestepped a reporter’s question about whether he agrees with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which he had identified as his favorite newspaper, that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, should be replaced.

“I’m convinced the House leadership is going to do the right thing here,” the GOP candidate for governor said. “They are going to look at the facts and do the right thing with Mr. DeLay.”

Courageous, Jerry.