Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Thursday, July 18, 2013
My father and grandfather were coal miners in Virginia and West Virginia. I was born and raised in Appalachia, as were all of my five siblings. My father’s family history goes back for many generations in Russell County, as does my mother’s family history in Giles County.
In a recent op-ed piece in The Roanoke Times, Brittany Barnes (“No friend to Appalachia,” July 8), a student at Virginia Tech, claims that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is on a jihad against Southwest Virginia. According to Barnes, Cuccinelli sees this area as a target. Why Cuccinelli is out to get us she doesn’t explain, except in ad hominem attacks on him: “the attorney general cares not about underdogs”; “it is his target to create greater disparity, less hope for jobs and diminished health care”; “shrill opposition to Medicaid expansion.”
Let me provide some reasoned, fact-based and logical explanations of the issues Barnes, bless her heart, raises.
The so-called transportation bill passed recently by the state legislature was nothing more than a big tax increase. This bill includes a sales tax increase, an Internet tax, an increased transient occupancy tax, an increase in the titling tax and others.
Cuccinelli stayed true to his oft-stated opposition to increased taxes by having opposed this bill. Standing on principle is a virtue among the political class, in my mind, since so many don’t do it.
Standing on principle does not mean ignoring real issues. The transportation problem in Virginia could have been addressed in a number of ways other than another big, fat tax increase. Space does not permit me to fully discuss the various options now, but one idea is a user-pays approach where the vehicles that cause the vast majority of the congestion and wear-and-tear on the highways — big trucks — would pay higher fees.
Barnes also cites Cuccinelli’s opposition to Medicaid expansion as further proof of his venality and desire to harm us poor hillbillies down here in them, thar hills southwest of Roanoke.
I have news: Medicaid is not free. We the taxpayers pay for it. The out-of-control, ballooning costs of Medicaid are threatening to literally bankrupt many states, including Virginia. Cuccinelli’s opposition to this expansion of the welfare state is based upon sound fiscal considerations as to how the state will pay for it without draconian cuts elsewhere.
The most telling aspect of Barnes’ diatribe is its complete lack of new ideas to address the real issue facing Southwest Virginia: how to find new industries and businesses that will give a rebirth to the local economy. To her ilk, the solution to every problem is the same: more of the left-wing liberal policies that created the problems in the first place. If we can just expand welfare (Medicaid) and forever keep increasing taxes (the so-called transportation bill), then all of our problems will be solved. More government is the solution to everything.
Well, it hasn’t worked. We in Southwest Virginia need leaders who will stand on principle and work to find new solutions to the issues we face. We don’t need more of the failed liberal policies of the past.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us