Virginia Governor Tim Kaine delivered the State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday night to the Joint Assembly in Jamestown. In Kaine's address he touched on many issues facing Virginians in the coming year including transportation, education and health care. Kaine began his speech by reflecting on accomplishments he says Virginians have made in the past, together.
"When we work together, the State of the Commonwealth is strong," says Governor Tim Kaine. Governor Tim Kaine started his State of the Commonwealth speech with the big topic facing Virginia legislators this General Assembly Session; transportation. "The solution to our transportation problem must include three components: strong accountability of our transportation agencies, better connections between land use and transportation planning, and new, reliable, long-term funding of our system," says Kaine.
Kaine wants to guarantee Virginians that their transportation dollars will never be spent for any other purpose. He says to solve our funding dilemma, he has proposed a basic transportation financing package with three elements including proper use of existing auto insurance premium taxes, charges to abusive drivers and a commitment to using surplus dollars for transportation. "I urge you, I urge us all to work together and find that long-term sustainable revenue that our system needs and that's at the best interest of the Commonwealth," says Kaine.
When Kaine touched on job growth, he pointed out SRI International coming to the Shenandoah Valley. "Together, for example, we can bring one of the global research leaders, SRI International, to the Shenandoah Valley. The partnership between SRI and James Madison University, initially focusing on cutting-edge pharmaceutical research, will create great jobs and complement our growing expertise in biomedical research. I look forward to working with you to make that happen," says Kaine.
In regard to education Kaine says last year teacher salaries were raised. He asked the legislators to raise those salaries by an additional 3 percent this year. Kaine also called for an increase in minimum wage, a decrease in the income tax liability for some Virginians and increased health care. "Let this session, this historic session, be characterized as one in which we work together to put the needs of Virginians first," says Kaine.
Governor Kaine concluded his speech by referencing the Jamestown Anniversary. He spoke of the many new worlds that Virginians should discover this year and beyond.