We Won

Even as I write this post, I’m having a hard time believing it, but it’s true.  The special session is over (Washington Post), and no Virginian will see their taxes go up.  Even better, the House Republican leadership changed course at the eleventh hour and replaced their tax-hike-laden bill with an alternative that spared the people of Virginia from higher taxes and actually tied road funding in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to the economic activity generated there.

So we got even more that my best hopes (a train wreck), we got the Democrats voting against a good bill.

So what happened?  Well, simply put, we happened.  Over the two weeks of recess in the special session, the activists cleared away the fog of last year and made themselves heard.  After years of hearing only MSM, Democrats in the executive branch, and some of their own weak-hearted contributors, the Richmond Republicans finally heard from us – and to their credit, they responded.

Odds are we’ll have to fight the same battles over the next sixteen months, so I want to make sure everyone who stepped up to the plate gets the proper accolades (because they’ll be needed again).

Delegate Bob Marshall: Say what you will, but it’s fairly clear Marshall’s near-win at the convention turned some heads.  I’m guessing his strength in Northern Virginia in particular (he won more then 60% of the Fairfax County delegation) made abundantly clear that the anger over HB3202 was real.  When HB6055 made the transformation from monstrosity to a damn good bill, it was Marshall who made sure of it by ensuring the elected General Assembly – not unelected regional authorities – would make the spending decisions, and nobody stood in his way.  More to the point, Marshall’s principled stand against tax increases brought together activists from around the state who demanded that last year’s debacle not be repeated.

Chairman Jeff Frederick: It seemed like the new Chairman had a bad case of the slows during much of the recess, but he turned on the jets with gusto at the end.  His appearance before the Washington Times editorial board made clear to every reader of that paper (which included at least every beleaguered Republican in Northern Virginia), that Howell et al were not speaking for the party when they peddled the original version of HB6055.  I would also submit he likely pushed the editors toward the scathing editorial they published yesterday.

The Prince William Board of Supervisors: The night before the session opens, the Republican-majority BOS (the only GOP-majority BOS in NoVa) unanimously condemned the old version of HB6055.  That had to be a wake-up call to the folks in Richmond.

The grass-roots activists: Last year, as HB3202 wormed its way through the legislature, the GOP activists were divided, confused, and in at least some quarters completely unaware of the danger.  This time, those of us who fought the lonely fight last year had plenty of company, from the First District GOP Committee to the Family Foundation to ATR.  Of course, the old veterans from last year (TQ, JAB, Jim Parmelee, etc.), were right there once again.

In the blogosphere: When HB3202 was first proposed, I had been a Virginia blogger for less than a month.  I knew a few of the players, but hardly all of them.  Yet when I went up against the windmill, I wasn’t alone.  The aforementioned Jim Bowden not only stood shoulder to shoulder with me, but I was able to use the episode to bend his ear, pick his brain, and get a better lay of the land (without which I would never have been able to do what I did this year, however little that was).  Chris Green and Greg L were also in the trenches last year and this.

This time, however, we had many other voices join us, including Crystal Clear ConservativeMason Conservative, Write Side of My Brain, SWAC Girl, Shaun Kenney, and Brandon Bell.  This turned our lonely voices into an ever rising chorus of anger and frustration at the House leadership for trying to saddle us with tax increases.  There wasn’t a region in the state where a Republican Delegate could not hear the voice of the low-tax majority asking them to reverse course and steer clear of tax increases.

This was such a near-run thing (as the Brits would say) that I honestly believe the outcome may have been different without one of the four components I listed above.  Together, we made our voices heard, and this time, Howell and company listened to us.

There will be other policy battles to fight – including and especially on this issue – in the months to come, but we won this fight.  For all of those who helped make it possible (and please, if I forgot somebody, put it in the comments for all to see): thank you, thank you, thank you.

21 Responses to We Won

  1. George Templeton says:

    I wish I could see the votes on Marshall’s amendments that improved the thing and whether my delegate (O’Bannon) voted for the better version in the end? I called his office Monday morning to voice my opposition to the bad version of 6505 and I want to see if he did what I hoped or not.
    And we haven’t really won until some of the conservative ideas (the constitutional amendment for a transportation lock box, implementing the Wilder commission proposals, putting the maintenance of secondary roads and subdivisions into the hands of the towns and counties, et al.) are implemented.
    If Howell would get behind some of these ideas (whether in one bill or several) and force the Democrats in the House and Senate to vote them down, then we can have a real debate in 2009 over this and maybe gain some seats for once!
    But for the short term this gives McCain a better chance of carrying Virginia and Gilmore a better chance of upsetting Mark Warner. And that is a reason to celebrate.

  2. rightwingliberal says:

    George,

    There were no votes on the Marshall amendments, they were aceepted as (I think) friendly amendments to the new HB6055.

  3. George Templeton says:

    Wow, that’s quite a u-turn for Howell, considering he was killing nearly everything that Marshall proposed in his Rules Committee (an abuse of power if I ever saw one).

  4. [...] Bolling’s view of the special session In yet another example of what has happened now that we made our voices heard, I actually agree with every single word of this statement by the Lieutenant Governor: RICHMOND [...]

  5. [...] -Right Wing Liberal has a pretty good analysis of what went down [...]

  6. Brian Kirwin says:

    We gotta throw Kudos to Oder as well. He’s the one who made it happen.

  7. rightwingliberal says:

    Oder does deserve credit, as does the leadership for pulling this off.

  8. [...] endorsements in the Virginia races last year to know what the Post editors woould say about the innovative and tax-less Republican [...]

  9. [...] is completely wrong.  HB6055 was not a tax proposal at all when it passed the House and was killed in the Senate three days before the RTD ran this piece.  [...]

  10. [...] The House plan that was sent to the Senate did not include any tax increases.  Once again, readers will think the Republicans backed a tax increase when in fact that they [...]

  11. [...] of course, comes as a result of the transportation special session.  In fact, it’s a thinly-veiled threat to the Delegates and Senators: pass a tax increase or [...]

  12. [...] toast.  Fortunately, the RPV seems to have learned its lesson.  The General Assembly Republicans finally kicked the tax-hike habit; the new RPV Chairman sounds determined to make sure there is no turning back; and Leahy himself [...]

  13. [...] Richmond Republicans into the hideous tax-hike known as HB3202.  They snapped out of the panic in last summer’s special session, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stay strong.  In fact, the election returns could be [...]

  14. [...] with the HB3202 debacle leaves me less than impressed.  Say what you want about Frederick, he spoke out against HB6055 (the bad version) at a very critical time.  Replacing him with someone more comfortable with a tax increase strikes me as unwise, especially [...]

  15. [...] They dropped 3202 in favor of a creative, forward-thinking transportation plan that does not raise taxes, during the special session.  They held firm to the ideaduring the regular session, turning the Democrats into the Party of No.  Now, they’re coming under tremendous fire from the Democrats over the unemployment funding issue, and they (the Republicans) are holding their ground. [...]

  16. [...] had spoken up for the Republican plan to tie transportation funding to economic activity during last year and [...]

  17. [...] See, before I was a candidate for office locally – in fact, before anyone locally even knew or cared who I was – I was a blogger.  Indeed, what put my blog “on the map” (to the extent it is) was the transportation issue (HB3202, its invalidation by the State Supreme Court, and the special session of Summer 2008). [...]

  18. [...] See, before I was a candidate for office locally – in fact, before anyone locally even knew or cared who I was – I was a blogger.  Indeed, what put my blog “on the map” (to the extent it is) was the transportation issue (HB3202, its invalidation by the State Supreme Court, and the special session of Summer 2008). [...]

  19. [...] seen this movie before.  They remember how sickness and rage turned into sweetness and light when they took tax hikes out of their transportation plan two summers [...]

  20. [...] seen this movie before. They remember how sickness and rage turned into sweetness and light when they took tax hikes out of their transportation plan two summers [...]

  21. [...] During those years he showed himself an able legislator – opposing the HB3202 fiasco and any other tax increases that came down the pike. As he was doing so, he was also getting elected and re-elected [...]

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