Archive for April 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2008
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER’S SOLUTION TO VIRGINIA’S TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS:
JUST GIVE UP
Delegate Morgan Griffith Declares Transportation Talks “Dead on Arrival” and Refuses to Show Up to Meeting to Discuss Transportation
(Richmond, Va.) – Virginians throughout the Commonwealth trapped in gridlock can once again thank the Republican majority in the House of Delegates who continue to put their heads in the sand in hopes that Virginia’s transportation problems magically disappear.
House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith was quoted in the Washington Post today saying that he has given up on trying to fix Virginia’s transportation problems and did not show up to a Wednesday, April 2 meeting to find a solution:
House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said he did not even bother to show up for the second meeting with Kaine and other legislators…
“It’s dead on arrival. Until that issue is put on the backburner, I don’t see us agreeing on anything,” he said. [Washington Post, 4/25/08]
“Apparently giving up on issues critically important to Virginia is what the House Republicans consider leadership,” Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington), Senate Democratic Caucus chair, said.
“We have been working with the Governor and trying to work with members of the House of Delegates on the other side of the aisle to find a solution to our transportation problems. It is clear to everyone the need for a state-wide fix and these problems don’t get solved by declaring it ‘dead on arrival’ and refusing to participate in discussions,” she said.
House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-Henry) was not surprised by Morgan Griffith and the House Majority’s failed leadership in fixing transportation.
“Morgan Griffith couldn’t waste his time meeting with legislative leaders to discuss transportation, but clearly has no problem wasting the time of commuters stuck in traffic in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
“Last year Republicans took the lead on a transportation plan and what they came up with was abuser fees and a plan that was ruled unconstitutional. Now we are trying to work together on a common-sense solution that will fix our transportation problems across the Commonwealth, and Morgan Griffith refuses to even show up for a meeting. This is indicative of the poor leadership the House Majority has shown over the last several sessions,” he said.
The environment wasn’t the only victim of yesterday’s veto session – House Republicans also squashed funding for a public-private partnership that would have helped provide health insurance to low-income workers employed by small businesses.
In the video below, Del. Brian Moran explains how the pilot program would have helped lower insurance costs for all Virginians.
The amendment was defeated by a 43-53 vote.
Mere hours after Earth Day, House Republicans defeated an amendment from Gov. Tim Kaine that would have strengthened Virginia’s environmental standards for new state buildings (Raising Kaine covered the details of the amendment last week).
In the video below, Del. David Toscano explains how the LEED rating system is a “much more stringent and rigorous” approach than the watered-down standards favored by Republicans. The amendment was defeated on a near party-line vote.
As embattled House Speaker Bill Howell clings tenuously to his shrinking majority, he has attempted to lay preemptive blame for Virginia’s transportation crisis on Democrats – before a plan has even been introduced.
You’ll excuse us if his complaints ring hollow, since Bill Howell is no stranger to playing politics when he lacks the will to offer a solution.
Bill Howell on fixing transportation:
“‘It makes you wonder if, in fact, this is all to put it off to the 2009 election’ and try to use the issue to attack GOP House candidates, Howell said.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/3/08]
Bill Howell on property tax relief:
“House Speaker Bill Howell admitted to Chamber of Commerce leaders last month that a plan to discount property taxes would penalize Virginia’s businesses and harm its communities. In the same breath, however, Howell said he would do nothing to stop a bad idea from becoming law. His reasoning: ‘My guys are up for election next year.'” [Virginian-Pilot, 2/10/08]
“Republicans would not stand in the way of the proposal, Howell said, because doing so would be used against by political opponents. ‘You’ve got to look at the politics of it,’ he told a crowd of about 250 gathered at the Library of Virginia. ‘My guys are up for election next year.'” [Sun Gazette, 1/25/08]
“The Speaker of the House came to us and said, ‘We’d like you to kill this bill in the Senate.’ There was a bill in the House as well. One of my guys stood up and said, ‘You’re going to kill it in the House too, right?’ ‘Oh, no, we’re up for re-election in 2009, we can’t vote against a tax cut.’ And sure enough, they passed it.” [Sen. Tommy Norment, Virginia Gazette, 3/22/08]