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Va. Gov. Bill McDonnell: A Conservative Big Spender


For those who still claim that conservatives are different from liberals, they might want to take a close look at Virginia Governor Bill McDonnell, a conservative darling who has just exposed himself as another big spender and big borrower. According to an article in Sunday’s Washington Post, McDonnell “plans a massive spending campaign that he said would unclog state roads, award thousands more college degrees and spur job creation, part of an aggressive legislative agenda he is expected to roll out this week.”

According to the article, conservative McDonnell plans to borrow $3 billion for his transportation projects and spend an additional $500 million on roads, colleges and universities, and job-creating projects. His big-spending spree also involves giving state employees a 3 percent bonus.

How is McDonnell pulling this off in these times of austerity, when other states are having to slash spending? It turns out that Virginia has a “$403 million budget surplus, $337 million in higher than expected tax revenue, and $192 million generated through cuts and savings.”

Why is Virginia doing so well compared to other states? That’s difficult to say, but one cannot help but wonder whether it has something to do with the massive amount of taxpayer welfare-warfare largess that is flooding into the heart of the Empire in Washington, D.C. It was recently reported that Virginia home values have recently gone up, while those in the rest of the nation have gone down.

So, why not simply cut (or abolish) taxes for Virginians? Are you kidding? We’re talking about a conservative here! What conservative is going to pass up the opportunity to go on a big-spending spree when he finds himself in control of a big pile of taxpayer money? Certainly not McDonnell! And certainly not any other conservative or liberal.

McDonnell ran for governor employing such standard conservative mantras as. “I will help our small business owners by keeping taxes low … and I will champion policies that unleash the creative spirit and productive power of the people of Virginia.”

What he didn’t say was that he intended to accomplish those things not by lowering taxes on small businesses and others but instead by going on a big-spending spree that would make any big-spending liberal proud.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.