Buried a little inside my Prince William weekly section of the Washington Post on Thursday was a story by Michael D. Shear touting the boldness of new Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who will provide the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union this week. The headline is "Kaine Going Boldly Where Few Dare to Tread." This is becoming a habit. Remember Shear is the same "objective" reporter who touted Gov. Mark Warner with the recent front-pager headlined "Warner's Triumphant Legacy No Easy Feat: Bipartisan-Minded Governor Broke Tax Vow But Revived Va." Shear is amazed that Kaine is taking on the developers' lobby with slow-growth talk, and...
His plan to finance additional transportation construction is even more striking. At first blush, it might appear modest, because Kaine avoids the politically explosive decision to raise the gas or sales taxes to pay for the improvements he says are needed. But it takes guts to ask lawmakers to approve nearly $1 billion a year in new taxes less than two years after they passed a sales-tax increase under Warner...
The next six weeks of the legislative session will show whether that agreement survives or whether Kaine's boldness -- on development and taxes -- sparks another legislative clash that ends in confrontation.
Shear failed to revisit if this "bold" plan to hike "user fees" emerged for the voters to consider during the fall campaign. Oops! That's too bad, because here's one report on the first gubernatorial debate:
Neither candidate rolled out new solutions at the debate for reducing traffic congestion. Kaine repeated that he will not support a tax increase or new revenue source for road building until the state constitution is amended to prevent the legislature from borrowing those funds for other purposes. Under that limit, he could not consider new funding proposals until 2009.
Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore warned Kaine would be taking the "guts" route, even if the revenue source hasn't been gas taxes:
“Raising taxes does not equal leadership,” Kilgore said, accusing Kaine of laying the groundwork for a gas tax increase. “You can take it to the bank what he’s going to do,” Kilgore said of Kaine. “He’s going to raise your taxes.”
Obviously, the Washington Post's "objective" reporters very much believe that raising taxes equals leadership. But a real leader would tell the voters he's going to do it before he's elected. That would be more of a "guts" route.