With Ben Chafin’s election, it is now official. After seven months, the Republicans have a majority in the Virginia Senate once more. As one would expect, a number of my friends are crowing.
Unfortunately for me, recent political history is screaming in my ears. It makes my optimism about a fully Republican-controlled Virginia legislature extremely cautious.
For those unaware, the Republican Party first had a State Senate “majority” in 1998 (although the 21st vote was actually the Lieutenant Governor); they held it for ten years. This is the record of that decade…
- Holding up budget amendments in an attempt to reverse the progress of the Gilmore car-tax cut (2001)
- A referendum in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia for tax increases (2002 – thankfully rejected by the voters)
- A proposed tax increase that was twice what Mark Warner wanted (2004)
- A proposed gas tax increase (2006)
- A proposed statewide tax increase in response to the HB3202 debacle (2007)
- Enacting HB3202 anyway (2007)
Somehow, the party was shocked – shocked! - when voters showed them the door and returned the State Senate to the Democrats in November 2007 (on a night when those without a tax-stained record did quite well, thank you very much).
Four years later, after Governor Bob McDonnell won a landslide victory by promising not to raise taxes, the GOP managed another 20-20 split. Once again, the Lieutenant Governor give them control…and within a fifteen months, the Republican-controlled State Senate passed a McDonnell-proposed tax hike (known in this corner as Plan ’13 From Outer Space). The nominee to replace McDonnell – Ken Cuccinelli – tried to defend and oppose it at the same time.
Somehow, the party was shocked – shocked! - when voters showed the 2013 GOP ticket the door, which also put the State Senate back into the hands of the Democrats in January.
Now, Republicans have the 21st vote once more.
I sincerely hope that the party has learned its lesson…and not f*ck it up with yet another tax hike that reminds the voters why they took power away from it, repeatedly.
Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon