Sunday, June 13, 2010

What good is an influential State Senator if he won't help us when we need it?

For those who have been following the trouble Anthem and the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center have been having coming to an agreement over reimbursal rates.... We have a few thoughts.

Here's what we know about all this.

1. HCA and Anthem have a deal for every HCA hospital in Virginia- except this one.
2. UMW has two hospitals in the area that both have deals with Anthem.
3. HCA says it is seeking the UMW deal because, having two hospitals, UMW sets the price for this region
4. Anthem says HCA is seeking more money than UMW or its other hospitals
5. Spotsy needs the SRMC to succeed (this explains the BOS’s statements)
6. Spotsy and F’berg have a Democrat state senator that NOT ONLY chairs the Health committee in the Senate BUT ALSO has a $150,000/year job with UMW
7. Said state senator was at the opening of SRMC but got its name wrong every time he said it… and it’s not even in his district

We call upon that influential state senator, Edd Houck (D-Spotsylvania), to pressure Anthem to give HCA the UMW deal and be done with it. Or is he already so deep in his conflict of interest that he couldn’t possibly step in for the benefit of more than 100,000 of his constituents?

There is no way being a senior executive in the region's (previously monopoly) hospital is not a conflict of interest when combined with being Chairman of the Senate Health Committee. We challenge Senator Houck to call Anthem and suggest that they give HCA's SRMC the same reimbursement deal the Senator's employer gets.

We also humbly suggest that the citizens of the 17th Senate District elect a representative that does not have such a blatent conflict of interest, that is willing to serve and fight for the citizens of the region.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wittman Wins 1st Congressional District (VA-01) Primary Quite Handilly in June 8, 2010 Primary

The following is a breakdown of votes cast in the June 8, 2010 GOP Primary for Spotsylvania County precincts only.  To view the rest of the district results {click here}

103 - TRAVELERS REST (District 01)
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 89 85.57%
Catherine T. Crabill 15 14.42%

104 - MASSAPONAX
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 99 90%
Catherine T. Crabill 11 10%

201 - ELYS FORD
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 133 87.5%
Catherine T. Crabill 19 12.5%

202 - WILDERNESS
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 14 77.77%
Catherine T. Crabill 4 22.22%

203 - NI RIVER
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 160 88.88%
Catherine T. Crabill 20 11.11%

204 - CHANCELLOR
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 110 93.22%
Catherine T. Crabill 8 6.77%

301 - PLANK ROAD
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 191 90.52%
Catherine T. Crabill 20 9.47%

302 - HAZEL RUN
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 180 90.90%
Catherine T. Crabill 18 9.09%

303 - GRANGE HALL
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 174 85.71%
Catherine T. Crabill 29 14.28%

401 - SUMMIT
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 227 89.01%
Catherine T. Crabill 28 10.98%

402 - FRAZERS GATE
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 131 88.51%
Catherine T. Crabill 17 11.48%

403 - LEE HILL
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 220 92.82%
Catherine T. Crabill 17 7.17%

505 - BROCK
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 199 93.86%
Catherine T. Crabill 13 6.13%

601 - SALEM
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 92 86.79%
Catherine T. Crabill 14 13.20%

602 - SMITH STATION
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 196 80%
Catherine T. Crabill 49 20%

603 - PIEDMONT
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 84 78.50%
Catherine T. Crabill 23 21.49%

701 - BATTLEFIELD
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 160 91.95%
Catherine T. Crabill 14 8.04%

702 - BRENTS MILL
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 180 84.50%
Catherine T. Crabill 33 15.49%

703 - FAIRVIEW
Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 162 85.71%
Catherine T. Crabill 27 14.28%

AB - Central Absentee Precinct

Robert J. "Rob" Wittman 63 94.02%
Catherine T. Crabill 4 5.97%

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mr. Houck Goes for my Wallet

Mr. Houck Goes for My Wallet
By D.J. McGuire

I couldn’t help but read the four-page advertisement cu biography Edd Houck put in the Free Lance Star. I thought I might discover something I didn’t know about this long-time Spotsylvania politician. This may be more the case for me than for others, as I do not live in his district (my part of Spotsylvania has been represented in the State Senate by Ryan McDougle and, before him, Bill Bolling). However, by the time it was over, I was and am very grateful that my State Senator is Mr. McDougle.

I don’t mean that to be personal. It is clear that Edd Houck is a decent man and a well-meaning Senator, but he has made some terrible, terrible decisions; he hinted at them in his own advertisement, and with a little research, I discovered just how far removed Mr. Houck has become from his constituents.

For me, the problem popped up on Page 3, where Houck decided it was a good time to rip recently elected Governor Bob McDonnell for the latter’s “no-tax mantra.” My heart sank as soon as I read it. It was a painful simplification of a time-honored, reality-based concern that tax increases can and will damage the economy of our Commonwealth.

A careful reader can see what I mean. In Houck’s complaints about the budget, he says a $4 billion reduction in state spending will cut “about 50,000 jobs.” Perhaps he hoped that would scare us into raising our taxes.

I would like to know why we should thank the government for spending roughly $80,000 to create a job. Something tells me leaving that $4 billion in private hands will put more people to work.

He does it again on page 4, railing about the “no-tax approach” of Orange County Delegates Ed Scott and Rob Bell, who voted against an income tax increase earlier this year. However, even Houck acknowledges that the income tax hike went down in the House of Delegates by a vote of 97-0.

So it wasn’t just Orange County Delegates, but Delegates in Culpeper, Madison, Louisa, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg who opposed it.

It wasn’t just “no-tax Republicans,” but at least three dozen “post-Byrd Democrats” who parted company with him and sent the tax hike to a well-deserved death.
Nor was it just the recent budget crisis that spurred Mr. Houck. He has voted for tax increases in recessions; he has voted for them in booms. He has voted for tax increases during budget shortfalls; he has voted for them with burgeoning surpluses.
Nothing, however, compared with a day he left out of his advertisement: June 24, 2008.

On that one day, as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, Edd Houck voted in favor of . . .

• An increase in the gasoline tax by 6 cents (SB 6009)
• An increase in the state sales tax on cars by 1/2% (SB 6009)
• An addition sales tax of 1/2% on Northern Virginia (SB 6009)
• A hotel occupancy tax of $5 per night on Northern Virginia (SB 6009)
• A grantor’s tax (real estate) of $.40 per $1000 on Northern Virginia (SB 6009)
• A “recapture” index on the gasoline tax that would lead to a tax increase of over 14 cents per gallon (SB 6010)
• An increase in the state titling tax on cars by 1/2% (SB6010)
• An additional sales tax of 1/2 cent on Northern Virginia (SB6010)
• An additional sales tax of 3/4 cent on Hampton Roads (SB6010)
• A hotel occupancy tax of $5 per night on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads (SB6010)
• A grantor’s tax (real estate) of $.40 per $1000 on Northern Virginia (SB6010)
• An additional increase in the gasoline tax by 1% on Hampton Roads (SB6010)
• An additional 1% sales tax on the Richmond metropolitan area and the Fredericksburg region (SB6010)
• A increase in the wholesale gasoline tax by 5% (SB 6015)
• An increase in the state sales tax on cars by 1/2% (SB 6015)
• An increase in the state rental tax on cars by 1% (SB 6015)

That’s thirteen different tax increases – in one day.

Fifteen months later, another “post-Byrd Democrat” made it clear just how far out of the mainstream Houck has moved. Doug Wilder, the first elected African-American Governor, had this to say about those who would seek to dig deeper into our pockets.
This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase, especially those that are fundamentally regressive and will hit hardest those who are struggling. Rather, it is the time to put our fiscal house in order, strengthening the Commonwealth for the future.

Yet nearly every tax that won Houck’s support on that summer day in 2008 was a sales tax or a gasoline tax, exactly the kind “that are fundamentally regressive and will hit hardest those who are struggling.”

It won’t surprise many voters to know Mr. Houck’s is more tax-hike-friendly than Republicans; it may shock them to know how far to the left in his own party he has traveled over the years.

As for me, I am deeply grateful that my State Senator is Ryan McDougle. In the four years he has served since the 2006 special election, he has never voted to raise my taxes. He understands the damage tax increases can do to the state’s economy in general, and to the budgets of working families in particular. Oddly enough, it was Mr. Houck’s advertisement that led me to be so grateful that I am not his constituent, a situation that I hope remains true after redistricting.

Mr. McGuire is an adjunct faculty member teaching economics at Germanna Community College.

Labels: , ,