Voters of Virginia’s 99th District:
The 99th District and Montross TEA Parties of the Northern Neck developed this voter’s guide featuring the registered candidates for Delegate to Virginia’s House of Delegates. The questions were developed by members of both the 99th District TEA Party at Lively and the Montross TEA Party. The Questions were derived primarily from legislation being worked during the 2011 Virginia Legislature. Each candidate’s answer is presented exactly as received with no changes, corrections, or embellishments. This voters guide will be presented on the 99th District TEA Party and the Montross TEA Party Patriots Web pages providing TEA Party members information of the views of the candidates.
Currently there are Six candidates who are either running or contemplating running for Delegate. They are: Lewis Walker from White Stone, Richard Lorey from King George, Dean Sumner from Northumberland, and Margaret Ransone from Kinsale, Catherine Crabill from White Stone and John Lampmann from Port Royal. Their answers follow and are presented in the order received. Additional Note: We attempted to contact the Democrat candidate, Nickolas Smith, to participate Although we left several messages we received no response.
How would you vote on these bills if you were nominated and elected as a delegate?
What is your view on having the Virginia Resources Authority finance and manage renewable energy projects?
VA Resource Authority provides “seed money” in the form of loans for cost-effective and sustainable financial solutions for infrastructure. HB 2389, which was introduced by Albert Pollard, adds renewable energy to the projects which the authority may finance. This is an excellent alternative to set up private infrastructure as opposed to subsidies or government entities. This I can support. The management should be in the private sector.
Since the words “renewable energy projects” are not defined in the question, I must assume they refer to (the usual suspects) wind, solar, biomass conversion, at al. I am quite leery of renewable energy policy being enforced and subsidized for political gain. We are an energy driven economy and the hysteria and paranoia over our current sources of energy (coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear) rather than a rational and sober appraisal of American capabilities will not solve any energy problem. If any of these so called renewable sources of energy were viable, the Government would not have to subsidize them. Someday, some scientist, engineer, technician, tinkerer will develop an energy source that nobody has ever dreamed of. The Government cannot legislate what is good science or technology
Any energy source that needs to be subsidized is an inefficient use of capital. I would prefer the capital to be used to finance Virginia’s natural resources such as oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. The free market is a much more efficient way to develop renewable energy
Did Not Respond
No government entity should be in the business of Renewable Energy. Such activity is outside the scope of the government’s Constitutional authority.
The private sector needs to have freedom from cumbersome regulations to pursue Research and Development of whatever Renewable Energy Resources that private enterprise can develop a market for.
Renewable energy projects should not be subsidized through the Virginia Resources Authority (VRA). The agency’s mandate is to provide cost--‐effective financing to Virginia municipalities for critical infrastructure projects like sewer, water, and broadband. I oppose the expansion of that mandate to fund environmental agenda projects indirectly that the General Assembly could be hard pressed to fund directly on a recorded vote.
The policy is particularly bad for 99th District citizens. It makes it less likely that the critical funding for their most pressing infrastructure needs will be available. Further, renewable project financing is most likely to be tapped by urban, not rural municipalities, adding insult to the injury of District interests.
The 99th District incumbent introduced a bill this year that explicitly made renewable energy projects eligible for VRA funding. A compliant bipartisan General Assembly rubber--‐stamped the bill’s passage. The VRA position was that it already the authority to fund renewable energy projects.
I also oppose expansion of the VRA’s mandate to include management of projects. I believe that is a responsibility of local government.
How do you feel about the Commonwealth stipulating No Discharge Zones in the Chesapeake Bay or the main stem openings of the major rivers that flow into the Bay?
A blanket no discharge zone would discriminate against persons who have purchased and install equipment that releases water that is clean and acceptable to our standards. I would oppose a blanket no discharge zone.
I have no problem with the concept but I do want to know how this is to be enforced. All too often we try to legislate what is "good” behavior with no thought given to enforcement and/or the unintended consequences.
Article XI section 1 of the Virginia Constitution states it is the Commonwealth’s policy to protect our waters from pollution. Having No Discharge Zones is prudent to protecting our waters.
Did Not Respond
Catherine Crabill Response:
I support the Commonwealth, via its 10th Amendment Right, to protect the health of the Bay based on solid science, NOT political correctness.
Citizens want clean water. Not whether but how we realize that goal is the question. The Commonwealth stipulating – mandating --‐ No Discharge Zones (NDZ) in the Chesapeake Bay or the main stem openings of the major rivers that flow into the Bay is bad public policy. Local communities and watermen know best if and where a NDZ is needed. The role of the Commonwealth is to support their efforts.
It is already illegal for a boat to discharge sewage into U.S. waters including the Bay.
There are two common practices to handle waste from people on boats: pump--‐outs, which are emptied at dock, and on--‐board treatment with marine sanitation devices (MSD). Environmentalists claim the MSDs pollute, but the scientific case for that argument has not been made. Broader use of the two waste management practices should be encouraged by efforts to better facilitate boater’s access to pump--‐out facilities at dock and addressing waste control issues associated with the hauling of human waste from pump--‐out stations to nearby septic or waste treatment sites.
What is your view of federally mandated residential energy efficiency standards that require a residence meet federal energy efficiency standards, a building energy performance labeling program, modifications to a residence to meet federal guidelines, and a label showing the energy efficiency of a home prior to its sale?
Lewis Walker Response:
This is federal over reach and I would be opposed.
The Federal Government is once again dictating how we should lead our lives. Once again unelected bureaucrats are imposing their will upon the country. Even if they have the best of intentions (which I know is certainly questionable), every time this sort of action is carried out, it erodes our God given freedom and liberty. I am unalterably opposed to this imposition. What problem is being solved, how is this action protecting us, and what is the true reason for its implementation?
The United States Constitution grants limited power to the federal government. It should be a states responsibility to require energy efficiency standards if it so chooses. Furthermore, standards would need to be different for each individual state because of different energy sources and weather conditions in each state.
Did Not Respond
Again, these draconian mandates are OUTSIDE of the federal government’s Constitutional authority. Consequently, I am adamantly opposed
Federally mandated residential energy efficiency standards that require a residence meet federal energy efficiency standards, a building energy performance labeling program, modifications to a residence to meet federal guidelines, and a label showing the energy efficiency of a home prior to its sale are bad public policy.
It is not the proper role of government to mandate such standards for each homeowner. Government should not decide the kinds and scope of market products that are to be available to citizens.
Free market approaches should drive energy efficiency solutions.
I would oppose similar kinds of proposals in the General Assembly.
How would you view a prohibition of prayer at public events that are sanctioned by a government agency?
I would oppose the prohibition based on The US Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article I “Congress shall make no law respecting …, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” and the VA Constitution Article I Section 16 “…, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion,…”.
Our country was founded on Judeo/Christian philosophy. Out founders knew the value of prayer and were unabashed in the exercise of it. This political correctness is weakening the very foundation of our Republic.
Dean Sumner Response:
Section 12 of the Virginia Bill of Rights states that the freedoms of speech can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may speak freely on all subjects. I believe that no level of government has the authority to prohibit prayer at a public event.
Did Not Respond
I would aggressively fight against any prohibition of our 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Religion at any public event.
We do not ‘check’ our Constitutional Rights at the door of any event, with the sole exception of Islam that masquerades as a ‘religion’. The reason for my objection to Islam is because its very teachings are designed to destroy all the liberties that our Constitution champions in America for We The People. We cannot protect any such aggressively destructive ideology against the best interests of our nation and hope to survive.
A flat prohibition of prayer at public events that are sanctioned by a government agency is bad public policy. Citizens are rightly concerned that prayer can be banned in public schools but “Heather Has Two Mommies” can be approved reading for elementary school children. The short answer by the courts appears to be that while prayer and “Heather” are both constitutionally protected forms of free speech, government sponsorship of religion is constitutionally prohibited but life--‐style choices are not.
Your Delegate in Richmond is not empowered to change constitutional law, but your Delegate can work to see that prayer is appropriately included in our public life and that life—style choices are not. Public policy must be flexible enough to embrace and resolve in particular circumstances the two conflicting constitutional principles concerning religion in the First Amendment.
Virginia’s minute of silence law, which requires children to begin the school day with a minute to “meditate, pray or engage in silent activity”, is an example of that kind of flexibility. It demonstrates how difficult it has been to just recognize and create an opportunity for prayer in our schools. The courts have upheld this law. More recently, Governor McDonnell reversed a state policy banning Virginia State Police Chaplains from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers. The rationale is that the state should not tell chaplains of any faith how to pray. It is these kinds of opportunities that must be seized.
Would you favor requiring an arresting law enforcement officer to determine citizenship of an arrestee? What degree of criminal activity should require a law enforcement officer to initiate determination of citizenship (speeding, robbery, proof of insurance, etc.)? Would you preclude determining citizenship by an arresting law enforcement officer for any reason?
Lewis Walker Response:
Yes. The officer should have probable cause or witness the boarder being illegally crossed first. I have not thought of a reason to preclude as of yet.
If I am stopped by any law enforcement officer for any reason, the first thing the officer wants to know is who I am. I am required to show identification. I have no problem with that. If it is the judgment of the officer that something occurs requiring a person to be stopped (in an automobile, on a bicycle, walking, etc.) then identification is necessary. Federal law requires that legal aliens always carry proof of status. Again, this is political correctness gone awry.
The fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause. I believe the law enforcement officer can determine citizenship only with probable cause that someone is here illegally and the only way it would be effective is with the cooperation of the federal government to deport anyone illegally in this country.
Did Not Respond
Drivers Licenses should not be issued to illegal immigrants. This would go a long way in alerting our Law Enforcement Officers to the possibility of an immigration violation. Beyond that, anyone arrested has to provide identification and that should not preclude a determination of legal residency or citizenship. Constitutionally, I object to the idea of anyone having to carry ‘papers’ for simply walking about.
Under Virginia criminal law, police officers can now check immigration status during criminal investigations. They should. Previously, they could do so only after making an arrest.
Requiring that all officers check the immigration status of all arrestees is more problematic. In a world of infinite police resources, yes. But before endorsing a statewide policy that has the potential to be burdensome on both law enforcement and citizens, more should be known.
Whether the degree of criminal activity should be a basis for requiring a check of immigration status is also problematic. Under such a scheme, a three--‐time criminal illegal alien murderer could be stopped for speeding and not be checked. On the other hand, a citizen with a spotless record could be a suspected robber and be checked. I would not preclude law enforcement officers from determining citizenship.
Would you endorse a state law requiring proof of legal status before granting public assistance?
Absolutely – we are going bankrupt! The country cannot afford to grant public assistance to the world.
Public assistance is not a right. To receive public assistance, I believe you should have proof of legal status and I would also add that anyone receiving public assistance should also be drug free.
Did Not Respond
Virginia law prohibits non--‐citizens and people residing illegally in the United States from receiving state or local public benefits unless required by federal law. Our state law does exempt some state—funded medical assistance for certain immigrant children and long—term care patients. I support this public policy.
I had the opportunity to substantively impact the limitations of benefits to illegal aliens at the Federal level. I was directly involved in crafting and managing passage of “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996”. That act bars illegal aliens from most federal, state and local public benefits, including such Federal programs as Supplemental Security Income, Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, except for emergency care, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The law includes some exceptions to protect life and safety.
What is the first bill you would introduce if you are elected?
I would like to introduce a bill that would require the state to compensate a land owner threw a reduced tax rate or tax credit for any further reduction in, erosion of, or regulation out of property rights. With eminent domain, the land owner is compensated for the land that is taken. With regulation, we lose the use of our land, but still pay full price for the property and full tax rate.
There are many issues that require attention and I find it virtually impossible to say which would be the first I would tackle. We have to work on our fiscal crisis at all levels of government, we have to be aware that Urban Development Areas/Agenda 21 is a UN Accord, we must assure that Sharia Law is not imposed, but if you forced me to pick a first one, it would be the same as the answer to Question #9 – eliminate the State income tax and replace it with a final user consumption tax – otherwise known as a Fair Tax.
Reform the Virginia Retirement System. The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) is about $18 billion underfunded which is almost 40% underfunded. The VRS is a defined benefit plan, the same type plan that many major companies had in the past. Those companies are either gone or have converted to a private plan similar to the 401-k plans. Many other states are having the same budget problems stemming from retirement deficits.
The private plan would also give employees more control of their future including owning their own plan and giving them the flexibility to change careers.
Did Not Respond
The first Bill I would introduce would outline criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment against every elected official who betrays their Sacred Oath of Office to Uphold and Defend the Constitution.
The second Bill that I would introduce would remove Immunity from anyone and EVERYONE in government, including, and especially, Commonwealth Attorneys and Judges.
I will introduce a bill to change the state formula for calculating the Composite Index, the formula by which state educational monies are distributed to county schools. The current formula significantly overestimates rural county property values. It does this by valuing agricultural, timber, and open space property not at its land use value but at its highest potential market value. As a result, the value of rural county property assets tends to be significantly overvalued. This then tends to result in significantly reduced state funding to rural schools.
Improving the quality of 99th District children’s education over the next decade will require increased state funding to rural schools as efforts are made to strengthen local control. Total state educational funding does not need to be increased, but how that funding is divided between urban and rural counties does. To do this will require a tough legislative effort. The case for creating equal educational opportunities for rural children must be made. Initial opposition from the strong urban district majorities in both political parties will need to be met and reversed.
My bill will change the Composite Index valuation of properties taxed at the local level at their Land Use values. Generally, it will base valuation on actual use, looking at collaborating factors such as county zoning and county development plans. Some current land use designated property may be planned and/or zoned for commercial development. That property likely would continue to be valued at its highest market value. Most land use taxed property in rural counties, however, is designated agriculture in county planning documents. These lands would for the first time under the bill be valued at their land use value for purposes of Composite Index calculations. The result will be an increase in state funding to most if not all rural county public schools including those in 99th District counties.
Would you support a Constitutional amendment prohibiting inclusion in a budget bill (i) any provision that imposes, continues, increases, or revives any tax, fee, or fine and (ii) any provision that reduces, suspends, or eliminates any credit, deduction, or exemption associated with any tax, fee, or fine?
A budget is a statement of finances. A tax is a charge from the government for the privilege of living and working. They should be kept separate. I can support this amendment.
This had to be submitted by a lawyer – at least it reads like it was. I would support such an amendment.
Under Article IV section 12 of the Virginia Constitution that law already exists. No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. Also in Article IV section 11; every law imposing, continuing, or reviving a tax shall specifically state such tax.
Did Not Respond
Citizens should be taxed only to the extent necessary for the state to perform its legitimate governmental functions. Eliminating misguided and wasteful government programs and agencies is our first fiscal priority. Government revenues already total far more than is needed to fund the essential and appropriate constitutional functions of government, Federal and state. To this end, I support not including proposed tax policy increases in budget bills. However, I do not believe that the state constitutional amendment process is the appropriate vehicle.
Budget bills best serve public policy making when they are limited to reconciling expected revenues and expenditures. If a 99th district family drew up its budget each year by listing expected income, expenditures, new spending wants and the new borrowing to make it all happen, how would that family remain solvent? Budget bills that include new tax proposals to effectively avoid confronting the truths of an honest reconciliation of current revenues and expenditures effectively assume a policy solution that masks from citizens and their representatives the exact financial state of the public’s budget. The practice does not support good public policy making. It seeks to avoid it. I will at every opportunity oppose such practices.
What is your view on how taxes should be levied in the Commonwealth? Would you support legislation to repeal state income tax and replace it with some other form of tax?
A tax on business or corporations is merely an expense to the company and is passed on to the consumer, and the consumer never really knows how much tax is actually in a product. If the tax system is to stay implemented the way it is, I would like to change the date of tax day to the Monday before election day. I would tend to be in favor of a flat or fair tax. Every one that buys product X pays the same amount of tax. NO EXCEPTION!
If you don’t want to pay the tax, don’t by the product.
Richard Lorey Response:
(See answer to Question #7) I believe Virginia should do away with the State income tax and impose an end user comsumption tax, i.e. a Fair Tax. I realize this would take years to fully implement.
I would prefer a simpler, flat tax with few deductions and a lower rate. I would be open to another form of tax in place of the state income tax but I am currently not aware of any. I would be against replacing it with a higher sales tax because it would encourage bartering and a black market if the sales tax was too high.
Did Not Respond
Catherine Crabill Response:
The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the most oppressively overtaxed states in the nation. A review of ALL the governmental activity in the Commonwealth would undoubtedly expose a multitude of ‘programs’ that are simply unconstitutional.
These programs would necessarily, therefore, be eliminated, reducing the Commonwealth’s budget and by extension the tax payer’s burden enormously. I would then work to abolish personal property and income tax without imposing a compensating tax.
The more money each taxpayer has to spend by keeping their hard earned pay, the more revenue can be extracted from the resultant commerce increasing revenues from the attached sales tax.
The tax burden on Virginians is excessive. And it should be borne equally by all Virginians, urban and rural alike. For example, Virginia’s decision to slash the locally collected car tax is widely popular. But to compensate localities for their lost revenue, the state distributes more than $800 million a year to localities. Two--‐thirds of that goes to seven urban localities. Across Virginia, the net result of car tax reform has been a mass transfer of monies from rural Virginians to urban Virginians. As the 99th District Delegate I would focus on protecting rural Virginia citizens from such unfair taxation.
Secondly, I would support efforts to move towards replacement of the state income tax with a sales tax. Taxing what one spends rather than what one earns gives more control to the citizen.
I oppose a sales tax at the national level primarily because there is no Federal requirement to balance the budget. Without that requirement, I am concerned that efforts to gradually increase a Federal sales tax would be too tempting to resist for the advocates of big government. I don’t have the same degree of concern at the state level. Virginia is required to balance its budget. That process necessarily would impose some discipline and political accountability on the Governor and the General Assembly in applying a sales tax.
Further, a sales tax would empower Virginia and the 99th District in its efforts to attract new jobs. Businesses look at state income tax rates when weighing relocating. For practical purposes, they need to be sure that the net income of their employees is not lowered by a move. States without income taxes are more attractive to businesses. Their employee earnings are theirs to keep and choose how to spend. And for Virginia citizens that also is the attractiveness of the sales tax. Citizens don’t have to save and send a portion of their earnings to Richmond every May 1st. There is no state withholding. They get more of their earnings in every paycheck and they decide how to spend it. If they choose not to spend but save, they are rewarded.
Also, only Virginia residents pay Virginia income tax. Visitors to Virginia would help pay a sales tax. Some may argue that a sales tax may tend to be regressive, but Virginia’s income tax is regressive. Its burden falls most heavily on middle and lower income taxpayers because our state income tax adopts the Federal income tax deductions and exemptions before identifying taxable income. This practice tends to reduce the taxes of high--‐income payers.
For these and other reasons, I would as the 99th District Delegate support efforts in the General Assembly to initiate study and consideration of replacement of the state income tax with a sales tax.