Lt. Gov. Bolling speaks at Boys State
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The News & Advance
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling challenged high school students attending Boys State on Wednesday to maintain their interest in government and politics, but they liked it best when he talked about better teachers, lower taxes, and smaller government.
"You are the best of the best that we have in the state," Bolling said, hitting a theme several other state leaders have used in speeches to the 800 high school juniors at Liberty University this week.
"My challenge to you today is keep your interest and keep your passion in government and politics," Bolling said.
The first round of applause came 20 minutes into his talk when he answered a student's question about improving teachers' pay.
"That's something Republicans and Democrats alike should seek to do," Bolling said. In exchange for his support of that concept, Bolling said, he'd like to see teachers tested for their competency, and he'd like to eliminate teacher tenure.
"I think teacher tenure does more to promote mediocrity in public education than almost anything I know of today," he said, bringing a round of applause from students.
In response to another question funding Virginia's transportation needs, Bolling attacked the tax increases proposed in Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's plan, which will be offered to next week's special session of the General Assembly.
Those tax increases "could be very harmful to a very fragile economy, and I don't think it necessary," Bolling said.
"I don't believe the problem in Richmond today is a lack of money. I think the problem in Richmond today is a lack of fiscal discipline," he said, adding that state revenues and spending have increased 180 percent in 10 years.
"I support the use of existing revenue sources to generate more money for transportation," he said.
The average worker in America sees 40 percent of his or her income taken for taxes by federal, state and local governments, Bolling said
"Think about that. Forty cents of every dollar your moms and dads earn, 40 cents of every dollar you earn, goes to government already," Bolling said.
"So my view is that I want to keep some of my money for myself," Bolling said to another round of applause.
Answering another student's question seeking advice about how to win votes by appealing to a broad electorate, Bolling said every political candidate faces the challenge of winning his party's nomination, but then has to modify his or her message a larger group of voters.
Bolling said his political career has been based on conservative principles.
"I believe in keeping government small and focused on its core responsibilities," Bolling said.
"I don't think government should be the answer to every problem," he said, generating a third round of applause.
After his talk, Bolling said the fate of proposed transportation bills in the Senate, over which he presides, "is totally unpredictable right now."
Republican legislators are focused on finding more money for the congested areas of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, Bolling said. But they don't agree on where to get the money.
"Sometimes the dynamics of just being there causes people to find consensus around things," Bolling said. "My hope is that we will do it by using existing revenues."
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