Support at gathering enthusiastic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

While it’s likely that his tax reform plan will face tough opposition in the weeks ahead, Gov. Mark Warner on Thursday at least made believers out of many people in Suffolk who heard him tout his plan before the Suffolk Rotary Club.

&uot;I thought he was outstanding,&uot; said Dr. George Barnett, whose just beginning his stint at chairman of the Suffolk Division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. &uot;I think he’s the most progressive governor we’ve had in my lifetime.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Barnett said he was particularly impressed with Warner’s commitment to transportation, still he gives him just 50-50 odds of succeeding in getting it implemented.

Chamber Executive Director Lonnie Staylor echoed Barnett’s enthusiasm.

&uot;I thought he did an excellent job,&uot; Staylor said. &uot;I think he’s going to have a tough time, but we definitely need to have something.&uot;

Suffolk Economic Development Director Tom O’Grady said he has not seen a better plan.

&uot;I like the plan,&uot; he said. &uot;Something needs to be done. His plan is well though out and I’ve not seen anyone propose anything better.&uot;

City Council members Bobby Ralph and Linda Johnson also both said they thought Warner had the ability to pull it off.

While Ralph said he was distressed the plan did not offer more direct aid to localities, at least there was indirect help and something needs to be done.

&uot;I think there’s an excellent chance we will have tax reform,&uot; Ralph said.

Johnson’s only lament is that Warner is term-limited to one term.

&uot;I think he’s wonderful,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;It’s a shame we will only have him two more years.&uot;