Monday, December 17, 2012

After a Decade of Hardship, State Spending Still Up

As Virginians ponder the amendments to Virginia’s two-year budget proposed this morning by Governor Bob McDonnell, it is worth remembering the extent to which state government spending has increased over the past 10 years despite three years of hardship occasioned by the 2008 recession.

Over the last decade, Virginia’s operating budget increased by $15.4 billion (62%) — a 35% increase in general funds and an 86% increase in non-general funds. When controlling for growth in population and inflation, total budget growth was 18% over the ten-year period.

So says “The Review of State Spending: 2012 Update” released November by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). After adjustments, General Fund spending actually declined 1% over the decade but non-general fund spending more than made up the difference.

Nine of 196 programs — including health care, education and transportation — accounted for 78% of the total budget growth over the 10-year period. Interesting… health care, education and transportation are three of the most dysfunctional sectors of Virginia’s (and the United States’) economy. All three sectors are exempt from market discipline, and all three are resistant to  fundamental re-thinking or reform. While tinkering on the margins, Virginia’s political establishment continues to pump more money into these broken institutions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ALMS: Rebellion Confirms Single P1 Entry For 2013

As first revealed in a exclusive last month, Rebellion Racing made its plans official Wednesday to enter the American Le Mans Series, committing to a single full-season entry for its Lola B12/60 Toyota.

The Anglo-Swiss squad, which took overall honors in October's Petit Le Mans, will additionally field a second P1 class contender in the 2013 season-opening Twelve Hours of Sebring, with driver lineups for both cars yet to be confirmed.

A parallel program in the FIA World Endurance Championship, where Rebellion won this year's Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 teams, is also being evaluated, which could see the team's other two Lola-Toyotas put into action in the global sports car championship.

"We want to build upon those results in 2013 and aim to add to our tally of overall race wins," said team manager Bart Hayden. "The visibility generated by overall wins is more in line with what our partners require and desire.

"The WEC is a World Championship and we would like to find a way to continue racing there too. Over the coming weeks, we will be striving to put together a program to complement our presence in the ALMS.

"We are a team that has grown up with the Le Mans spirit since our involvement in the GT class in the early 2000’s and we want to continue racing in championships that mix the very best professional prototype and GT teams. I will be particularly pleased if we can succeed in finding a way to run cars in both the ALMS and the FIA WEC in 2013.”

On the driver front, has learned that 2012 European Le Mans Series champion Mathias Beche has already signed with the team, with the remainder of the lineup set to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

The official confirmation of Rebellion's presence in the premier prototype ranks of the ALMS will see no fewer than three full-season entries in 2013, joining at least one Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 and reigning champions Muscle Milk Pickett Racing with its soon-to-be-upgraded HPD ARX-03c.