The Washington Times - November 30, 2011, 12:25PM

What do Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Senate candidate Tim Kaine — all Democrats — have in common with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate candidate George Allen, and Gov. Bob McDonnell — have in common besides being commonwealth lawmakers?

Politically, not much (at least if you draw a line between the Democrats and Republicans in the group). But the coalition of top Republicans and Democrats have come together to pen an op-ed in Politico supporting a bill introduced by Mr. Warner and Mr. Webb that provides a tax credit for communities to partner with the private sector to fix up old school buildings.

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In addition to promoting greater leverage of a federal rehabilitation tax credit approved in the 1980s, the Rehabilitation of Historic Schools Act would also require the Secretary of the Treasury to report to Congress on the effects of the law.

Limitations on the law generally preclude public schools from benefiting, the legislators write, and an Internal Revenue Service rule typically bars private investors from earning the credit if the renovate an older school into a more modern facility.

“This legislation isn’t a silver bullet,” they wrote. “But it is the only proposal before Congress to leverage private capital to help modernize our public schools.”

Mr. Kaine, as the mayor of Richmond, used the same tax credits to reopen the city’s Maggie Walker High School as a regional governor’s school.

“This is a bipartisan jobs bill that could help make America more competitive while expanding our economy,” they continue. “We hope our colleagues and the White House will agree.”