Letter: Legislation Does Hurt the Poor

Letter: Legislation Does Hurt the Poor

In last week’s Gazette, Jay McConville objects that the front page story, "New Laws Attack Poor" (Feb. 16-22, 2012) is filled with the assertion that "legislation promoting good financial stewardship … is an attack on the poor." In the article to which McConville refers, Delegate Surovell and Senator Puller are cited as mentioning proposed regulations limiting childcare subsidies to five years per family, regardless of the number of children in the family; voting bills which disproportionately impact the poor and elderly, by imposing the burden of proof of eligibility on the voter who arrives at the polls without identification; legislation requiring drug tests for people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; massive cuts to Medicaid; a bill prohibiting Medicaid from paying for an abortion (even) when a physician certifies that the fetus will be born with a gross and incapacitating physical or mental deformity; and the now infamous, medically irrelevant unfunded mandate that a woman must pay for an ultrasound if she desires an abortion. None of these promote good financial stewardship. And they all disproportionately affect the poor. McConville’s letter, citing no examples of legislation promoting financial stewardship, commends the General Assembly for successfully passing "important legislation dealing with issues that matter most to Virginians" and suggests your paper report on these, undocumented, "real accomplishments." I concur. What are they?

Surovell’s "Richmond Report" in last week’s paper, enumerated proposals in the (Republican) House Budget which reduce funding for secondary education, cut Medicaid, do nothing to deal with Virginia’s 12,000-child subsidized childcare waiting list, and take $50 million per year from the General Fund — taxes paid by Virginians — to fund transportation, instead of raising taxes from those who use the highways, including non-Virginians. These proposals do not strike me as examples of laudable good governance or sound fiscal policy.

Paul M. Siegel