As state and local government employees — including some 110,000 in Hampton Roads — dug deeper to contribute to their pension plans last year, surging financial markets finally bumped the totals in the Virginia Retirement System’s pension trust funds above where they stood before the Great Recession.
But those sums still aren’t enough to make VRS executives, or the financial experts who advise them, comfortable that it has the resources it needs to pay pensions and retirement benefits far into the future.
VRS’ main fund, a $55 billion pool of stocks, bonds and real estate investments, can cover about 65.6 percent of what insurance statisticians say it is going to have to pay by the time the last of its 324,000 participants and 164,000 retirees pass away, its latest annual report disclosed. Ideally, pension fund advisers like to see 100 percent funding, but they say 80 percent can suffice.
Was the amount the state owes the VRS calculated into these figures? Part of the problem with VRS is that the General Assembly refused to fund it to recommended levels. Now who pays the piper? The participants.
Despite the dooming and glooming, the VRS remains a good pension. It used to be considered one of the best in the nation. Too bad the politicians ruined it, then tipped in it like it was their own ATM. Time to pay the piper, General Assembly.
RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe has added a potent weapon to his bipartisan charm offensive: better booze.
Desperately in need of Republican friends to get his agenda through a divided General Assembly, McAuliffe (D) has restocked the executive mansion bar and thrown open the doors for nightly receptions. In at least one case, he sniffed out just which craft beer a GOP bigwig likes and made sure to have it on hand.
To the discount hooch and Bud Light normally on tap at the mansion, the governor has added top-shelf liquor and microbrews at his own expense — a move made possible by his enormous personal wealth and made necessary by heightened scrutiny to mansion spending amid his predecessor’s gifts scandal. While appealing to the legislature’s more discriminating tipplers, McAuliffe has not forgotten the teetotalers: For them, he serves up daily breakfasts, picking up the private catering tab personally.
The Republicans who dominate the Virginia House of Delegates are gearing up for legal battle with state Attorney General Mark R. Herring, the first Democrat to hold the post in twenty years.
Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) has put forward a bill that would give General Assembly members legal standing to represent the commonwealth when the governor and attorney general choose not to defend a law.
If the bill succeeds, it could set up a situation like the one in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans hired a private attorney to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
The attorney general’s office declined to comment directly on the legislation, but spokeswoman Ellen Qualls noted that “the constitution of Virginia provides for a duly elected attorney general to do this very job.”
But senators were also bracing for a potential power struggle. The chamber has been evenly split since 2012 but under GOP control because the lieutenant governor, who presides over the chamber and decides most tie votes, was a Republican. On Saturday, that tiebreaking authority shifts from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) to Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph S. Northam (D).
Northam’s new office, however, gives Republicans a chance to take his seat, and with it outright control of the chamber. After a special election Tuesday, Del. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) led Wayne Coleman (R), the owner of a Norfolk shipping company, by the slimmest of margins: 10 votes out of more than 20,000 cast, according to the State Board of Elections.
That narrow margin — 0.04 percent — entitles Coleman to a recount if the numbers hold. Local election boards began canvassing Wednesday to make sure their results were correct, a process that will continue into Thursday. The elections board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Friday to certify the results, after which the loser could request a recount.
Rachel Maddow traces the discovery of the missing ballots in Fairfax County, starting with Ben Tribbett’s declaration that it appeared that around 3,000 ballots were missing from District 8. Ben Tribbett is the blogmeister of NotLarrySabato blog as well as a local democratic.
The real crime here is the way those provisional ballots have to be counted. I have never heard of anyone having to go in person to defend their ballot. Several facts remain clear. Cuccinelli should have resigned as Attorney General. There is simply too much room for conflict of interest, especially with some of his prior …well..no nice way to say this, conflict of interest. He chose not to follow tradition and do the right thing.
Atif is also a dad, a husband, a soccer coach and a progressive thinker. He was endorsed by the Washington Post:
“District 13: After more than two decades in the House, Republican Robert G. Marshall has a well-earned reputation as a culture warrior more interested in right-wing doctrine than in his constituents. His contempt for homosexuals is surpassed only by his disregard for women who have abortions; he suggested that God exacts vengeance on women who abort their fetuses by assuring that their next pregnancy will produce a disabled child. His constituents in Prince William County would be much better served by Democrat Atif M. Qarni, a personable public school teacher and former Marine whose plain sense and temperate politics distinguish him from the incumbent.”
When Bob Marshall first ran for office, he favored term limits, or so he said. I guess he got power hungry.
At any rate, its time to give Atif Qarni a chance. He has put forth good ideas. Its time to implement them. It’s time to send a pro education delegate to Richmond.
Those who can, teach.
Those who can’t, pass laws about teaching.
Atif can! His reputation as an outstanding math teacher is known throughout Prince William County. Let’s send Atif Qarni to Richmond to show them how it’s done! He is even a math teacher so he can show them how it all adds up.
Throughout Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has cast Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist, incapable of forging the centrist consensus necessary to manage the commonwealth. The portrait has stuck, according to recent polls; McAuliffe appears to be ahead in the race — and Cuccinelli’s conservatism is a leading reason.
For years, he articulated that conservatism in the Cuccinelli Compass, honing a combative political persona and providing opponents with material that has now driven up his negative poll ratings and lifted McAuliffe. At the same time, Cuccinelli has accused Democrats of turning him into a caricature, seeking to scare off voters by distorting and lying about his record as a state senator and Virginia’s attorney general.
The Cuccinelli Compass is where Cuccinelli presented himself as an unbridled firebrand, venting about the “left-leaning media,” “gun-grabbing liberals” and “liberals wigging out” over, say, his proposal to allow employers to fire workers for speaking inadequate English.
Cuccinelli (R), the state attorney general, trails businessman Terry McAuliffe (D) by 12 percentage points among likely voters, the survey shows. And Cuccinelli’s decline comes as Virginians are increasingly turned off by the movement that has backed him strongly and with which he shares many views.
The tea party is opposed by 53 percent of registered voters in the commonwealth, up a slim three points from last year and up 10 points from a May 2011 Washington Post poll. Just 36 percent support the movement, down from 45 percent two years ago. Among those with the most intense feelings, voters who strongly oppose the tea party now outnumber those who strongly support it by more than 3 to 1.
Independents have soured most dramatically on the tea party: Fifty-five percent oppose the movement, up from 37 percent in May 2011. It’s also opposed by 80 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli II in the race for Virginia governor, in a new poll capturing increasing dissatisfaction among voters with Cuccinelli’s party and his conservative views.
According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll.
The margin between the two major-party candidates is driven by a huge gender gap. Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent. But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent.
Bob Lewis, the Associated Press political reporter who last week published an erroneous report about Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, has been temporarily suspended, POLITICO has learned.
Lewis, a highly respected veteran on the Richmond political scene, will no longer cover the race between McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, and may be suspended through the election. His last story on the race was published Oct. 14.
Lewis did not respond to a request for comment regarding the suspension. The Associated Press declined to comment on personnel matters.
On Oct. 9, Lewis published an exclusive report for the AP alleging that McAuliffe had lied to a federal official investigating a death benefits scam, seemingly upending one of this year’s most contentious political races. The Associated Press retracted the story one hour and thirty-eight minutes later, on the grounds that the initials referenced in the indictment did not identify McAuliffe. Lewis immediately took responsibility.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a 6-percentage-point edge over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the first Quinnipiac University poll of the campaign among voters likely to cast ballots in the November election.
McAuliffe holds a lead of 48 percent to 42 percent in the survey released this morning, while the down ticket candidates are still unknown to a majority of Virginians.
McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 33 percent, but 31 percent of voters had not heard enough about him to give an opinion.
Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent while only 22 percent hadn’t heard enough to form an opinion, according to the poll.
Women for Choice my ass! What choice? Lies Lies Lies. Judging from the door in the video, that CPC is right here in Manassas. They have been pulling this crap for over 20 years. The lies and judgemental statements in the video were actually recorded and the film was presented by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The entire ruse is deceitful. Just the name tricks scared young women into going to the ‘wrong clinic’ since its location is very close to a real medical facility. Private information is solicited from the women before they realize they are not in a medical facility. Pregnancy tests are even given. One young woman I know who was sent in, got phone calls at home and hymns were sung to her. Incidentally, she was not pregnant.
The Democratic candidate for attorney general is calling on the state’s watchdog agency to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Virginia Retirement System’s investment in Star Scientific stock last year.
“The fact that our state’s pension fund would decide to invest in Star Scientific, a company that has suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses over the past decade, raises the possibility of serious flaws in the processes by which investment professionals within the Virginia Retirement System choose investments on behalf of our state employees,” state Sen. Mark R. Herring, D-Loudoun writes in a letter to Del. John O’Bannon, R-Henrico and Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan.
They are chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.
RICHMOND — Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II urged Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Monday to call a special General Assembly session to repair “severe holes” in the state’s ethics laws.
With McDonnell embroiled in a gifts scandal over luxury items, five-figure monetary gifts and $120,000 in loans from a Virginia businessman, the Republican candidate to succeed him said Virginia cannot wait until the legislature reconvenes in January to tighten the state’s lax disclosure requirements.
“Trust is something that is easy to lose and hard to recover,” Cuccinelli said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I think the longer we let this go, the more difficult it is for Virginians to achieve the level of faith in their government that I think they’re accustomed to. And I think that’s something we can achieve if we move quickly.”
Cuccinelli’s chief deputy asked the governor to call the session in a face-to-face meeting Monday.
The candidates have said it all. This line up is simply amazing. Not in my Virginia…please!!
The core problem is that there can be no re-branding of the Republican Party. How do you re-brand core beliefs? If you feel homosexuality is a sin, you can’t re-brand that. If you have strong anti immigration feelings, how is that re-branded? There is no magic wand that waves away these feelings. At best, Republicans can tone down the rhetoric and stop trying to legislate the social issues. Other than that, I simply don’t know what can be done.You are still talking about the same core party members and people who vote for their beliefs. One’s common core of values simply doesn’t re brand.
Many of the moderate Republicans are chased out of office these days to the screams and shouts of “RINO!” There doesn’t seem to be room for these people under the big tent any more. some of my favorite people are moderate Republicans, which should come as no shock. I eschew zealots of any flavor.
Perhaps what we will soon hear is the swan song for the Grand Old Party. I think that is sad. Perhaps we have already heard it, as the Old Guard dies off or goes out of office, often in disgust. My feeling is the Grand Old Party died off a few years ago and the swan song was sung. What’s left? The Republicans who I just don’t feel can claim the Grand Old Party logo.