“Something of a gut punch...Youngkin seems out of touch with rural reality... Would hurt actual Republican constituents in rural Virginia.”
Richmond, VA — Each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that Glenn Youngkin’s right-wing agenda would be devastating for Virginia. Last week, The Washington Post editorial board took a sledgehammer to Youngkin’s extreme economic plan:
"If Virginians want to see an economy run “into the ditch,” Mr. Youngkin’s plan would do the trick."
Yesterday, Virginia Democrats called attention to Youngkin’s dangerous plans and the damage they would cause across the commonwealth.
Now, The Roanoke Times editorial board is slamming Youngkin’s extreme agenda — even calling it a “gut punch” for rural areas.
See below for key excerpts and read the full editorial here.
The Roanoke Times: Editorial: Youngkin's economic plan is pretty disappointing
Glenn Youngkin, the blankest of blank slates ever to run for Virginia governor, has finally started to fill in some of those blanks on policy.
The result is pretty disappointing, and something of a gut punch for the rural areas that are the base of his own Republican Party.
Last week, with some fanfare, Youngkin announced his grandly titled “plan to invest in all Virginians.”
It was nothing more than a recitation of standard Republican talking points — mostly tax refunds and tax breaks.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have expected anything else from the former co-CEO of the world’s second-largest private equity firm.
On the other hand, we had hoped for a little more creativity from someone who has worked at such a high level of the economy.
Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe have spent much of the campaign arguing about the state of the Virginia economy.
Youngkin says it’s “in the ditch.” [...]
That’s why we’re so disappointed in his economic plan, because there’s almost nothing in it to help rural Virginia build a new economy.
We say “almost” because Youngkin makes the obligatory nod toward rural broadband. He proposes $700 million. The problem is Northam proposed that same figure a few weeks ago. Broadband is the rare issue where there’s a bipartisan consensus. Youngkin deserves no credit for broadband as political boilerplate.
Beyond that easy box-checking reference to broadband, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — in what we heard during Youngkin’s 14-minute talk that addressed the problem of there being two separate Virginias.
Politically, Youngkin doesn’t really need to. Rural Virginia will vote heavily for the Republican ticket no matter what they say or don't say.
But as governor Youngkin will have to deal with the fact that there are lots of rural areas that, economically and demographically, are a drag on the state. Youngkin likes to talk about how he will be “a new kind of leader.” Here’s a place where he could have demonstrated that, and didn’t.
Youngkin didn’t mention the state income tax in his policy remarks last week but in other forums he has, telling some interviewers that he’d like to eliminate it.
Who wouldn’t like to see the income tax abolished? However, here are a few salient facts.
Fact number one: The state income tax provides 72% of Virginia’s revenue.
Fact number two: Virginia subsidizes most rural school systems, providing up to 65% of the funding in Scott County.
Fact number three: Rural schools are still underfunded in contrast to their counterparts in affluent suburban districts.
If Youngkin succeeded in reducing or eliminating the state income tax, would that make it more or less likely that there will be more school funding for rural schools?
Youngkin’s fascination with eliminating the state income tax might play well with Republican policy wonks in the urban crescent but would hurt actual Republican constituents in rural Virginia.
The main thing that Youngkin had to say about schools was to express support for school choice plans, another suburban conceit.
Feel free to debate the philosophy of school choice all you want, but the reality is that in much of rural Virginia, there isn’t a realistic option to the local public school.
Youngkin seems out of touch with rural reality. Indeed, he’s made no mention — none at all — of the outdated schools in rural Virginia that are, in some actual cases, held together by duct tape.
Youngkin’s lack of imagination (or nerve?) is letting an opportunity pass him by. [...]
Youngkin must be a serious man. He wouldn’t have risen to his CEO position otherwise. You’d think he might have at least one creative thought.
But when it comes to the economic challenges facing rural Virginia, he seems incapable of anything except clichés. [...]