Senator Deeds holds Town meeting in Clifton Forge
Earlier this month at Scott Hill Retirement Community in Clifton Forge, Senator Creigh Deeds spoke with a group of citizens who had a wide variety of interests. The Senator explained that while there may have been specific bills that drew a lot of attention, there are a couple of other issues the Senate faced that Virginians should be alert to over the next year as well.
Senator Creigh Deeds:
“In the General Assembly the House of Delegates is made up of about 68 Republicans, 32 Democrats. The Senate is a little bit closer, about 21 Republicans, 19 Democrats. In general, my experience has been that Virginians pretty much put aside partisanship and get things done.”
He gave some reasons for the challenges with getting so many needs met across the state. The money goes where the numbers are, and Senator Deeds outlined where the people, therefore where the money is.
“The Virginia I was born in had 3.2 million people. Now we’re over 8 million people. We’re concentrated more than ever in the “fertile crescent” from Northern Virginia, down the 95 corridor to Richmond, east on the 64 corridor to Virginia Beach. That’s where the large part of the population is.”
“What has fueled Virginia to a large extent though has been Federal spending in that area, whether its defense contracts, building air craft carriers in Newport News, contactors in Northern Virginia, military bases in South Hampton Roads. That’s been the growth of Virginia. Now, why do I talk about that? Because that’s driven our tax revenue. If the Federal Government spends two billion dollars here, five billion dollars. Some of that money is going to filter down to create jobs. It’s creating job, and those jobs are going to create income tax revenue; they’re going to buy houses, and they’re going to pay income tax revenue in localities. And that is affected by federal spending, so sequestration which came into our vocabulary three years ago is something that every Virginian ought to look out for because if the sequester which is scheduled to occur this fall, does in fact occur, and I’ve got no reason to think that it won’t, the Feds spending is going to be trimmed even further. And if that occurs, Virginia is going to be hit.”
The senator described the proportions of federal spending among states.
“Over the last thirty years or so, forty years, we’ve had a buffer against recession in Virginia, and that’s because the Federal Government spent money nowhere else except Alaska like they do here, per person. They spend more money here than any place but Alaska; the only reason Alaska qualifies as having higher per capita spending is because they have so few people. Well, the sequester means that their spending comes down. The last quarter of last year, the three states that were 48th, 49th and 50th in terms of economic growth were Maryland, Alaska and Virginia. If that’s a sign of the future that means what we in this area have known for a long time. We either have to diversify the economy or we’re going to die on the vine. We have to look for ways to change the economy in Virginia, to create more sources of wealth, more sources of growth, and that’s nothing new to us.”
Senator Deeds went on to give examples of citizens who had been innovative, and who adapted frequently to changes, as those who would succeed when the federal government gives less support to this state.
“The fundamental change in our economy underlays everything we do, everything. Now we can talk all day about things we did this legislative session, but that, the effect, the potential effect of the sequester is something that we have to consider every single day.”
For more from Senator Deeds Town Hall meeting in May, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.