It’s been nearly two weeks since the State Supreme Court wiped out the unconstitutional taxes imposed by HB 3202. The legislature has been engulfed by a cacophony of voices on how to “fix transportation.” Sadly, my ideas have yet to inspire a good pair of legislative lungs.
For the most part, far too many Republicans are willing to force local government to raise their taxes (what Jim Bowden dubbed “the son of Frankenstein” in a phone call with me last week), while the Democrats are pushing a combination of onerous sate taxes aand onerous local taxes. Bob Marshall, of course, is determined to stop any tax increase from replacing the ones he just sued to erase.
However, there is one voice whose silence on this matter has been deafening – Jim Gilmore.
Throughout the entire debate on HB3202, Gilmore said not a word. I can actually understand why – he was running for president at the time. Now, however, as a Virginia GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, he has no excuse.
To the extent that the Establishment GOP backs anyone in this race, it backs Gilmore. If he were to tell Bill Howell et al to cut this nonsense out, there is a good chance we can get through this summer without any tax increases. At the very least, Gilmore could reveal that he still has his ear closer to the ground than the power brokers in Richmond. Yet he says nothing. Why?
I don’t want to hear about the car tax reduction. I credit him for that, but it was ten years ago. We are in the midst of a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican party right now, and Gilmore is repeating Jerry Kilgore’s mistake of sitting on the sidelines and hoping it all goes away.
This is a terrible message to send to both the party activists and the millions of Virginians who have emphatically demanded that taxes not be raised. After all, if Jim Gilmore remains silent for fear of alienating Bill Howell, Bob McDonnell, and other Richmond Republicans, how will he fare against the “Old Bulls” in the Senate when it comes time to stand on principle? How can we be certain he will be a conservative Virginian first and a Republican politician second in 2009 when he won’t even do it in 2008?
The way I see it, Gilmore has three choices. He can throw in with his new-found Establishment buddies and make it clear he is no longer the anti-tax man he was; he can remain silent and reveal that he has lost the courage of his convictions; or he can take a chance, stand on principle, and endear himself to millions of Virginians inside and outside the Republican Party.
Until and unless Gilmore takes that final option, the reality is this: only one Senate candidate is standing up for Virginians against higher taxes today – and that man is Bob Marshall.
Cross-posted to Bloggers 4 Bob Marshall