Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


While reading this article today on the budget impasse in New Jersey, I noticed something interesting. According to the article, NJ has a $31 Billion budget. Compare that to the $74 Billion budget we just passed.
According to census data, NJ has 8.7 million residents as of July 1, 2005 whereas Virginia had 7.6 million.
Why does our state spend more than twice as much as a state who is bigger than us?
Mark Warner was given the award of Virginia being the most well run state in America last year. How can that be? NJ is apparently run better than us, or they at least are more efficient.

This info further reinforces the idea that our budget is extremely bloated. Republicans especially need to do some serious work on this. This is unacceptable to the taxpayers of Virginia.

UPDATE: Upon further checking, the $31 billion is for one year. Their 2006-2007 budget is $59 Billion. Thats still much lower than our $74 Billion, and they still have 1 million more people than us.


  • At 7/05/2006 2:52 PM, Blogger eirishis said…

    I'm just a common Wahoo and haven't looked at either state's budget in great detail beyond education, but the big difference between the state budgets is likely attributed to a simple difference in how each state divides its responsibilities between the state and local jurisdiction. New Jersey, like most Northeast states, delegates a LOT of responsibility (and with it, taxing authority) to townships. As a result, their state budget is smaller, simply because the state is doing less itself.

    A more compelling comparison would be combined state and local spending.

  • At 7/05/2006 6:57 PM, Blogger James Young said…

    I think that eirishis is right, and he beat me to the punch.

  • At 7/05/2006 9:08 PM, Blogger jujhpkjuhpkjh[pkij said…

    One question. Does the NJ figure include federal dollars? The VA figure of $74 billion does.

  • At 7/05/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    That is a good possibility. Thanks for the insight folks.

  • At 7/06/2006 7:56 PM, Anonymous Chris Saxman said…

    Check to see if that is General Fund budget. The non-general fund might be excluded.

  • At 7/06/2006 10:03 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…


    There is the link to their budget.
    It looks like my number is total budget, but I am not an expert budget reader.

  • At 7/07/2006 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Believe me, the per capita tax burden in NJ is much higher than VA. I know that to be the case.

    Delegate Saxman makes a good point about GF and NGF funds. This is an apples and oranges comparison.

  • At 7/07/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous Brian said…

    Either way, the VA budget is way too damn big.

  • At 7/08/2006 7:27 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…


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  • At 7/11/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Patrick O'Connell said…

    This is simply proof that GOP leaders like yourself have no clue as to governance.

    "They have more people and spend less."

    So therefore VA spends too much?

    You'd be hard pressed to run a hotdog stand! Econ major my @$$! Why don't you get a job and try, just try to run a real life, real world, grown up business.

    Simple mindedness like yours is why our country is in the mess it now is in. All the spin you and your "conservative" friends try to play does not change reality one whit.

    Regarding both states....
    What is being paid for? What services are being provided? What is not being paid for? What services are not being provided? How many miles of highway are being maintained? How many elderly are in the population? How many children are being educated? What is the age of the population? How well are the schools performing? How many bridges and dams are undergoing renovation?

    Is the budget amount reported by state even comparable?

    Have you been to New Jersey lately Hokie? You want to trade your place in VA with someone from there?

    So you're much smarter than the organization that gauged Warner's VA to be the best managed state in the US?

    Tell us why.

  • At 7/11/2006 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Mr. O'Connell.
    Well said, well done.
    The VA Tech student who calls himself GOPHOKIE is still a child after all and most likely has spent his summer so far sitting by the pool, watching the girls.
    He is probably unwilling to admit that other people's taxes are helping to subsidise his education at the state school that is VA Tech. He is also probably unwilling to admit that when he drives back and forth to school, that he is doing so on a state (taxpayer) subsidized high way.

  • At 7/14/2006 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just curious Patrick O'Connell--How old are YOU? I am in my middle fifties and I have read quite a few of GOPHOKIE'S blogs and I think he has wisdom beyond his 21 years. I am here to tell you that when I was 21 I could hardly balance my check book--even though I didn't get too much money being a lifequard--much less keep up to date on political issues to be writing a blog. I disagree with you and would be honored for GOPHOKIE to take care of my finances. I think he is pretty darn smart. So what if he is spending his summer by the pool. I can think of worse places for a 21 year old to be. Keep up the good work and I enjoy reading your blog. I think the comments made have generated some thinking and that is what blogging is all about, isn't it? Wisdom improves with age and I foresee you gaining a lot in time. Good luck with getting your degree from the best business college in Virginia. BTW, it isn't in ECON, is it?

  • At 7/14/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Patrick & 11:34, NJ and Va have relatively similar regional makeups (large suburban/urban population as well as sizeable rural pop).
    I have not torn down their budget into little pieces, but my question is why do we spend so much more than them? If you want to show me why, be my guest.

    As to the "best run govt", that is based on how well the state manages its debt rating and revenue/spending. I will agree Virginia does a great job at not spending more than its revenues, but that doesn't automatically mean its the best thing. We have some great opportunites related to the gov't and an affluent population that enables us to have alot more revenue than alot of states. That being said, we don't have to spend it just because we have it. Its kinda like the problem in business. Too many people think that a company who is making money has a good business plan and the ones losing money have bad ones. Not necessarily. In 1990, GM made way more money than Microsoft. Who's better now? Even in 1990, Microsoft had a better business plan; but most people didn't know that then.
    We need to look at government with that same perspective. What effect will our actions now have on the future?

    4:42, thanks for the kind comments. You are correct I am in Business-Finance, not ECON.

  • At 7/14/2006 11:55 PM, Anonymous Walter Williams said…

    Anon 4:42,
    I am quite sure that if you have such confidence in this young person's abilities that he would be willing to accept a job offer. He/She has an email link if you would care to make an offer...
    VA and NJ are alike? This claim makes me wonder if you are, as you claim, from central Virginia...
    That borders on absurd...
    You are the one who made the initial post and claim, it is therefore your responsibility to provide data and arguement to support your theory. For you to challenge Mr. O'Connell to prove your unsupported statement wrong is quite simply,... lazy.
    Mr. O'Connell asked some very good questions. Can you even begin to answer them? I would say that the ball lies firmly in your court.

  • At 7/15/2006 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree hoakie, tell us why.

  • At 7/15/2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Ed Hale said…

    I agree with several previous writers that GOPHOKIE should back up his statements with data and reason. It is not just lazy to throw something out and then (when questioned) to demand that someone else find evidence against his statement, it also borders on intellectual dishonesty.

    Now there is a border worth defending. Politicians on the extremes have been crossing this line for far too long.

  • At 7/15/2006 6:54 AM, Blogger Dubya said…

    The border between the great nations of New Jersey and Virginia are vitally important and I want everyone to rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make sure that the border is secured. Our plan is to request that Mexico join us with military troops from the great nation of Mexico to begin the process of protecting the border between New Jersey and Virginia.
    Just remember, Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.

  • At 7/15/2006 9:02 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Ed, are you saying our Mexican border isn't worth defending?

  • At 7/15/2006 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon 4:42
    I just checked Patrick O'Connell's profile and he would have been 22 years old when GOPHokie was born. So I guess we need to wait 22 years and keep tabs on you Hokie to see if you have gotten wiser than you are now. I guess you need to stick to Virginia politics(forget about NJ) and you will leave em in the dust!!!!!

  • At 7/15/2006 5:49 PM, Blogger Howard said…

    "Ed, are you saying our Mexican border isn't worth defending?"

    Still trying to deflect away from answering the questions to back up your position. Why don't you stand behind your own comments?

  • At 7/15/2006 7:53 PM, Blogger Dominique said…

    Why look how cute the little boy is when he tries to act all grown up!

    Give it up guys, he won't provide any substance to his opinions, because on issues like budget and well managed business and government he has none. And yes, it is laziness and intellectual dishonesty. But as evidenced by the latest AP/ISOS poll, the American people are fed up with such nonsense.

  • At 7/15/2006 8:30 PM, Blogger Dubya said…

    Let me give this a try. As I've said before,
    all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

    Hope that clears things up. Hey Karl, get me some pretzels!

  • At 7/15/2006 9:31 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    I said their budget is smaller than ours, period.
    If NJ is still operating, then maybe we should take a look at their model and see what we can do to make our state budget more like theirs.
    I never claimed to be a budget expert, and I am lazy. If you guys want to criticize me, why not prove me wrong since you guys are apparently budget experts.
    I always have felt blogging is a give and take. I throw something out there and you guys tell me why you agree/disagree or why im right or wrong.

  • At 7/15/2006 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    gophokie wants virginia to be more like new jersey? now there is a brilliant plan.

  • At 7/16/2006 11:27 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Only our budget 11:27. Maybe we both have good things the other state could do.


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