A relatively rare outbreak of bipartisanship spread across Virginia Wednesday, as top officials from both parties came forward to support a bill that would provide tax credits for fixing up aging school buildings.
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and James Webb have introduced The Rehabilitation of Historic Schools Act of 2011, which would let local governments use the existing Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit to partner with private developers to work on school projects.
Webb and Warner teaming up is not unusual, but the measure also has the public support of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R). Webb, Warner and Cantor supported an identical version of the bill in the last Congress.
“They say we’ve run out of common ground in this nation” McDonnell said in a press release carrying quotes from all four Virginia leaders. “This bill demonstrates just how mistaken that belief is.”
The bipartisanship on this issue even extends to the campaign trail. Former senator George Allen (R), who is running to succeed Webb, issued a statement of his own praising the bill. Allen and his likely Democratic opponent, ex-governor Timothy M. Kaine, teamed up in July to issue a joint statement calling for the use of special tax credits to improve crumbling schools on U.S. military bases.
Allen has also worked with Paul Goldman, the former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, to tout the use of such credits.
When Kaine was mayor of Richmond, the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit was used to rebuild the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, a continued source of pride for both parties.