The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Potts says Kilgore will break budget

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER — Independent gubernatorial hopeful H. Russell Potts Jr. unloaded on former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore on Friday, asking the Republican candidate to “show me the money.”

“Kilgore offers Virginians a Christmas gift a day with a big red ribbon and no way to pay for these programs,” Potts said.

Kilgore has proposed to spend $20 million on in the Virginia Health Care Foundation and provide bonuses for teachers who get advanced degrees, national board certification, or engineering scholarships, among other initiatives.

Potts’ campaign places the total cost at more than $1.8 billion in new spending — including the full elimination of the car tax and the creation of a new four-year university in Southside.

“Let me see if I’ve got this right. He’s the guy that traveled all over Virginia, gave numerous speeches in opposition to the bipartisan budget reform last year and he’s now advocating all of these expensive expansions of government,” Potts said.

Kilgore opposed the $1.5 billion tax increase last year. His campaign says he was right to do so, now that the state budget has produced large surpluses for two fiscal years in a row.

Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the Republican campaign was “completely dismissive” of Potts’ charges, then produced a spreadsheet of spending proposals from Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine.

Virginia already has the money for Kilgore’s proposals, which would cost nowhere near $1.8 billion, he said.

“Potts gets his calculator from the same place he gets his policy positions: left field,” Murtaugh said.

“Absolutely, we can make it work,” he said. “The state is now awash in the unexpected revenues. What we have proposed will actually be quite easy to accomplish.”

Potts has made transportation issues the central theme of his campaign, promising to put “everything on the table” to come up with a way to pay for road improvements.

He has also said he’d work to re-institute the car tax and opposes the efforts of both Kilgore and Kaine to reduce real estate taxes.