Tags: Gov. Terry McAuliffe | Virginia | Republicans | criticize | economy | most traveled governor

Republicans Blast 'Most-Traveled' Virginia Gov. McAuliffe

By    |   Tuesday, 21 April 2015 07:27 PM

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told a national audience Sunday that Virginia’s economy is "roaring," thanks to him. But economists aren’t so bullish, and McAuliffe’s critics say presidential politics is Job One for the Democrat.

"I’m one of the nation’s most traveled governors. … I’ve brought business back," McAuliffe said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." "I’m all about trade and economic activity."

John Whitbeck, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, accused the governor of promoting a different agenda.

"Governor McAuliffe’s appearance on 'Meet the Press' underscored that his entire reason for running for governor was to help get Hillary Clinton elected president. As Chuck Todd correctly pointed out, we don’t know what Hillary Clinton’s message is, and if it’s anything like the governor’s agenda, Virginia voters are sure to say 'no thanks,'" Whitbeck told Watchdog.org.

"Since he was elected, the governor’s signature policy initiative, Medicaid expansion, was defeated. Other than that, he has accomplished nothing other than agreeing to Republican legislation and then taking credit for it," Whitbeck said.

"Maybe he should spend less time being the self-proclaimed most traveled governor and more time working on behalf of Virginians."

McAuliffe said his global economic development efforts, ranging from China to Korea to Japan and Europe, have yielded $6.5 billion in investment in the state — "double that of any previous governor."

The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee has also raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Bill and Hillary Clinton during his 35-year relationship with the couple. McAuliffe once touted the North American Free Trade Agreement as one of President Clinton's "greatest accomplishments."

That prompted Todd to note, "Many no longer trust politicians to negotiate" such deals in the public interest.

Vince Haley, a Republican state Senate candidate from Henrico County, said McAuliffe’s "new economy apparently is rooted in his giving state grants to lure new business and in advocating for draconian increases in state energy costs to boost his favored alternative energy companies."

Earlier this month, the American Legislative Exchange Council criticized Virginia’s economic environment. The market-oriented group ranked the state’s top marginal corporate income tax rate 31st out of 50 states and gave Virginia a zero on "tax expenditure limits."

Mike Thompson, president of the nonpartisan Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, said Virginia’s economy is "at best, simply doing OK."

"Our state's status vis-à-vis other states is falling in many categories [including] business competitiveness, manufacturing, etc.," Thompson said Sunday.

Economist Chris Chmura recently reported that inflation is outstripping wage increases in Virginia.

Chmura found that in the five years prior to the 2009 recession, professional jobs grew by 76,000 (30 percent of all jobs created), with an average wage of $83,700. In the past five years, Virginia gained just 9,000 such jobs, while layoffs mount.

"So 'roaring' is a sales pitch definition by our state’s top salesman — Governor McAuliffe — and not reality," Thompson told Watchdog. "What we need is a creative, revenue-neutral tax restructuring that would eliminate our gross receipts tax and machine and tool tax, among other changes."

The Jefferson Institute's dynamic tax model shows that such a program would create almost 70,000 new jobs over the next five years.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of its Virginia Bureau. Contact him at 571-319-9824.

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe told a national audience Sunday that Virginia's economy is "roaring," thanks to him. But economists aren't so bullish, and McAuliffe's critics say presidential politics is Job One for the Democrat.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Republicans, criticize, economy, most traveled governor
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 07:27 PM
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