Opinion — Virginia will never be California

Published 5:29 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

Somehow, “We told you so” seems inadequate. In 2021, Democrats coupled Virginia’s vehicle emissions regulations to California.

Now unelected officials in Sacramento, not elected officials in Richmond, set policy for Virginia. And this week they decided that no new gas-powered cars can be sold in California – and by extension Virginia – as of 2035.

A recent vote by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is monumental, and not just for California.

Under the regulations recently adopted, the sale of non-electric cars will be banned in California by 2035.

This also bans the sale of non-electric cars in Virginia, as Democrats yoked Virginia to California’s Section 177 standards in 2021 with the passage of HB 1965.

Under that law, the Air Pollution Control Board is required to adopt laws that match California’s, as soon as they are certified by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to meet the standards of the Clean Air Act.

Worse, the bill exempted these regulations from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act, removing the public’s ability to comment on them.

The result is that, unless the General Assembly acts to repeal this ill-advised measure, it will be illegal to sell a new gasoline powered car in the Commonwealth by 2035.

The required infrastructure does not exist. Chargers are hard to come by now, and according to the most recent data available, only 2 percent of new sales are electric in Virginia.

Electric cars are not affordable, and Congress just made what incentives there are to purchase these vehicles much more difficult to obtain.

At the same time, manufacturers ramped up their prices by the same amount as the subsidy.

This is a massive government overreach into the day to day lives of Virginians for little to no environmental gain.

Virginians did not vote on this. They have no voice in this.

Republicans can and will fix this by uncoupling our regulations from California and bringing that authority back from Sacramento to Richmond.

Virginians should make laws for Virginians. Not Californians.

Student loan crisis

President Biden announced that his administration would “forgive” up to $10,000 in student loans for those who borrowed from the Federal government, and up to $20,000 for those who got Pell grants to attend college.

This “forgiveness” will be paid for by taxpayers – including those who worked hard to pay off their loans, those who saved and never got loans, and those who couldn’t afford college or work in trades.

Some 14.5 million people will have their debt completely erased. The plan will cost $300 billion.

“Forgiving” debt doesn’t mean the debt goes away. It simply means that taxpayers will be on the hook for the obligation instead of the borrowers.

This announcement is a slap in the face to every parent who scrimped and saved to send their kids to college.

It’s an insult to every graduate who worked hard, followed the rules, and paid off their debts.

Most of the debt is held by upper-income Americans who got advanced degrees or took on huge debt loads for degrees that didn’t make economic sense.

An exchange from 2020 with Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren perfectly encapsulates the situation:

“My daughter is in school,” the man said. “I saved all my money just to pay my student loans. Can I have my money back?” “Of course not,” Warren responded. “So, you want to help those who don’t save any money and the ones that do the right thing get mistreated?” he responded.

This policy is more than just unfair – it will make near record inflation worse and incentivize schools to encourage students to take on even more debt.

I will not fold to liberal socialism and will continue our conservative fight in Richmond.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.