- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The May 19 editorial “Swinging at Bob McDonnell” took several swings at Common Sense Virginia — and missed every time.

First, The Washington Times opined that the $125 million the federal government offered to Virginia — and gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell rejected — for expanded unemployment benefits amounts to a “molehill.” The thousands of recently laid-off Virginians who would benefit greatly from those funds likely would beg to disagree. Much like Mr. McDonnell, The Times appears either not to know or not to care about the challenges Virginia families face in tough economic times.

Second, Mr. McDonnell and The Times were wrong to suggest that Virginia eventually would have to raise taxes for expanded unemployment insurance. The Department of Labor has acknowledged that once federal stimulus funds are exhausted, Virginia could change its laws rather than pay to continue providing expanded benefits. If anything, accepting federal funds might help Virginia delay a tax increase that is scheduled to occur as early as this month, when the commonwealth’s unemployment insurance funds are expected to drop below a required level.

Third, the editorial erroneously suggested that “Common Sense Virginia is … skirting state campaign laws.” This is simply not true. Common Sense Virginia is in full compliance with Virginia law. Virginia’s State Board of Elections has never purported otherwise.

Mr. McDonnell didn’t stand up for unemployed Virginians. Why should Times readers believe Mr. McDonnell will stand up for them?

DENISE FERIOZZI

Executive director

Common Sense Virginia

Arlington

Editor’s Note: We fully stand behind The Times’ earlier opinions and facts that are challenged in the first two paragraphs of the letter above. As for the reference to the “skirting” of campaign law, here’s what happened: The State Board of Elections at first announced it would impose a $2,500 fine against the Democratic Governors Association. The fine was later rescinded. The association created and finances Common Sense Virginia, but they are legally separate entities. Common Sense Virginia itself was never accused of violations. We apologize for the error.

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