Real Talk on Taxes.

In a Washington Post op-ed this morning, some refreshingly direct rhetoric on taxes from Creigh Deeds, Virginia's Democratic candidate for governor. Deeds wants to overhaul the state's transportation system, with new investments in high speed rail, bus rapid transit, and road and bridge upkeep. Theoretically, Deeds' opponent, Bob McDonnell, agrees on the priorities. But McDonnell won't raise taxes to fund improvements. Democrats across the country should take a lesson from Deeds, who writes frankly, "We can't solve this problem without new revenue."

Let me be clear regarding taxes. I will sign a bill that is the product of bipartisan compromise that provides a comprehensive transportation solution. As a legislator, I have voted for a number of mechanisms to fund transportation, including a gas tax. And I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation -- even if it includes new taxes.

It takes some guts to say this at a time when the conservative grassroots is in full-on tax revolt. Most disturbingly, opposition to health reform has revealed that a significant chunk of Americans do not understand that taxes pay for the services they use, and do not realize that their Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits are coming to them via government. Good for Deeds. He won't let the ignorant and irrational frame the debate.

--Dana Goldstein

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