It’s been a disastrous weekend for Ed Gillespie’s policies. With each passing day, Republicans, the press — and voters themselves— have slammed Gillespie’s proposals as unclear, unworkable, and downright dangerous.
Late Friday night, The Economist reported that behind closed doors, Republican legislators “worry that [Gillespie’s tax plan] could inflict greater damage on Virginia’s budget than the last big Republican tax cut.” The next day, The Virginian-Pilot published a devastating piece that exposed Gillespie’s sea-level rise plan as nothing more than a vague set of talking points. The Pilot’s Brock Vergakis reported that the Gillespie campaign has failed to explain how they would pay for key planks in their plan— including flood-proofing military installations and “encouraging innovation.” Even worse, The Pilot reports “it’s unclear how the backbone of Gillespie’s proposal – low-interest loans – would work.”
Instead of proposing real solutions to help Virginians, the Gillespie campaign is running a campaign based on half-baked “proposals” — to the dismay of their own party and Virginians across the political spectrum. As a “professional talker,” Ed Gillespie may think his slick talking points are enough to win him the governor’s mansion, but voters expect — and deserve — more than just political spin from their next governor.
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Republican legislators publicly laud the scheme, but privately worry that it could inflict greater damage on Virginia’s budget than the last big Republican tax cut: a rollback in 1998 of a widely despised levy on cars that forced a $1.4bn tax increase when the state’s credit rating was threatened by a deficit four years later.
Virginian-Pilot: Ed Gillespie has a plan for battling sea-level rise – but he doesn't mention climate change
But it’s unclear how the backbone of Gillespie’s proposal – low-interest loans – would work.
His plan calls for using a fund the General Assembly created in 2016 to help people ward off flooding, but the legislature never allocated money for it and Gillespie isn’t proposing to do so. Instead, he says he would work with the private sector to fund it, although his plan does not say how he would do so or under what terms.
Gillespie’s other plan for financing calls for changing the Virginia Pooled Financing Program so money from it can be used to address sea level rise. But the program already can be used by local governments for flood prevention, public safety and transportation.
In response to questions from The Virginian-Pilot, Gillespie’s campaign said adding “sea level rise” to the law would “lend greater clarity and credibility.”’
Gillespie’s plan also calls for encouraging innovation that could spur job creation while addressing sea level rise, but it does not say how he would do so. His plan also calls for ensuring that local governments have the authority to address sea level rise, but his campaign did not provide examples of any authority he believes they’re lacking that he intends to provide.
Gillespie also says he wants to “flood proof” military installations in Hampton Roads, but doesn’t say how he would do so or pay for it.
Gillespie’s campaign said under his administration the state would coordinate with the military on projects, but provided no further details other than to say flood-proofing would be done in “a thoughtful, fiscally responsible way.”