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February 27, 2003

Fear of Flakes

The Free Lance-Star has a fine editorial about wimpy government school systems that shut down as soon as the first snowflake hits the sidewalk. The FL-S's ire is aimed at the City of Fredericksburg's schools, but the editorial works just as well when applied locally.

No one suggests that school authorities demonstrate chest hair by opening schools in truly dangerous weather. But if the school-closing standard instinctively embraced by administrators here were applied to Minnesota, or parts of Michigan, or, for that matter, sections of nearby Pennsylvania, everyone in those places would grow up dumb as a stump.

Also, if young people as a group have a spotty work ethic--some employers grouse about this--are they being conditioned to malinger by educrats who, faced with modest physical adversity, shutter students' "workplace"? School officials often lobby government for more funds on the ground that education is Job No. 1--a plausible assertion. But when there is snow on the ground, all other jobs seem more important by virtue of the fact that they're being done. The local school, meanwhile, is apt to be idle.

Arlington's students deserve public schools with a little more gumption.

February 26, 2003

Enough hot air to melt the snow

Gov. Mark Warner (D) says on the one hand, he wants to "restructure" the Commonwealth's entire tax code in order to raise more tax dollars. (So that - presumably - Richmond can "give" more of our state taxes to cities and counties to use for K-12 education. Go figure.)

But on the other hand, he says, it would be just terrible to repeal our 16% Death Tax right now (partial relief in 2004, gone in 2005).

But hey, Governor! If we're going to be "restructuring" anyway, why not go ahead and sign the repeal? If the Death Tax comes back when we "restructure," we'll deal with it then.

Answer: Because he knows there isn't actually going to be any "restructuring." Delegates and Senators running this fall on pro-tax-hike platforms? Then sweeping into Richmond next January to raise our taxes?

I doubt it.

February 25, 2003

Come on
And take a free ride

Surprise, surprise. Subway and bus riders want lower fares and better service. Environmentalists, welfare advocates and the usual kibitzers believe Metro can keep the system running by charging more for parking cars at subway stations, and eliminating the 5% discount for buying farecards worth more than $20.

These folks seem to come from Planet Debbie. Making it harder and more expensive for middle-class commuters to ride subways and buses is not going to solve Metro's financial problems.

No means no, Governor

No sooner does the General Assembly finish saying, "NO! We're NOT going to raise taxes" than Governor Mark Warner (D) says he wants to overhaul them. Overhaul, as in raise.

BTW, Governor, K-12 government schools are locally funded here in the Commonwealth. Why should Northern Virginia send taxpayer dollars to Richmond and get back K-12 pennies? Let's keep our money in our wallets and let the good folks in Grundy and Buena Vista finance their own schools.

February 24, 2003

Lonely Lemon Seeks Rich Taxpayer - Object: Subsidy

The inventor of the Segway, the $5,000 battery-operated scooter that, err. . . hasn't lived up to expectations, is asking Congress for a bailout.

February 22, 2003

THEY all agree - YOU'RE too rich

Four people who want to raise your taxes. Bigtime.

How Sa'ad for him

Even Richmond City Councilmen have to pay federal income taxes. Yes, even Richmond City Councilmen whose young wives drive gold Lexuses.

Whatta bargain, Spark Plug!

Ever mindful of your wallet, the General Assembly is only going to budget $800,000 of taxpayer money to help retire the debt of the Virginia Horse Center, a private facility in Lexington. The House had wanted $1,260,000 - but the Senate held back.

"There was some giving and taking and the giving was very painful," [Del. Vince] Callahan [R-Fairfax] said.

"We have never had a budget without me eating a goodly number of toads," [Sen. John] Chichester [R- Fredericksburg] said. "When the toads are distributed equally, we've got a pretty good budget within the parameters of limited revenues."

Those boys from Down South the Rappahannock sure do talk funny.

Are your real estate taxes too high?

Your county real estate taxes are going up by the same percentage your assessment went up. The average assessment increased 17.2%. If you think a third year of double-digit tax increases is too much, sign the Petition to Reduce the Arlington, Virginia Tax Burden. Tell your friends and neighbors that it can be found at http://www.acta.us/petition.htm.

February 21, 2003

Speaking of Food Tax relief...

...have you noticed how much less it costs to eat out in Fairfax County, as compared to Arlington? It's 4% cheaper, give or take a penny, because Fairfax doesn't have Arlington's food tax on restaurant and fast-food meals.

The savings on a nice dinner for two with a modest bottle of vino more than pays for the extra gas it takes to drive across the county line. Heck, the savings on a Big Mac and small Freedom Fries makes it worth the trip.

See you at Morton's! (The one on Leesburg Pike, not the one in Crystal City.)

Governor Vows to Keep Death Tax Alive

Governor Mark Warner (D) announced today that he will fight the phaseout of Virginia's Death Tax, which passed both Houses of the General Assembly by veto-proof margins.

Finally, it’s extremely disappointing that this session of the General Assembly decided to make its signature issue the repeal of the estate tax. At a time when we’re asking young people to pay hundreds of dollars more in tuition . . . when the poor and elderly are having important social services curtailed . . . when we are reducing the hours at parks, museums, DMVs and other state facilities . . . and at a time when we have failed to complete car tax relief or food tax relief, the General Assembly has elected to give a new tax break to the wealthiest Virginians.

They are wrong.

This year, those "wealthiest Virginians" include the families of anyone who dies with an estate of $1 million or more. That means an awful lot of middle-class families who own a house in Northern Virginia, and have a 401(k) and a bit of term life insurance, will get socked by the Death Tax should they be unlucky enough to meet the Grim Reaper.

And the Governor's - and the Virginia Democrat Party's - largest contributors may not be pleased about being denied Death Tax relief - assuming he can switch enough votes, an unlikely prospect.

The General Assembly is right. The Death Tax should die, the sooner the better.

Whipple: Wants tuition discounts for illegal aliens

Arlington County senatrix Mary Margaret Whipple (D) opposes requiring illegal aliens who attend Virginia public colleges and universities to pay out-of-state tuition rates.

Quoted in The Washington Times, Whipple said, "These people are not illegal, they are just undocumented." Come election season, taxpayers should ask her to explain what the difference is, exactly.

February 20, 2003

A Democrat's stance on taxes

Zell Miller (D - Georgia) on taxes and class warfare.

February 18, 2003

the fallen standard of the Reagan Revolution

NR Online takes apart more stupidity (is that an oxymoron?) from WaPo, aka the House organ of the Tax and Spend crowd.

No doubt we will be hearing Real Soon Now about how the dedicated underpaid public school teachers have to buy colored pencils out of their own pockets because of the "cuts" in school funding.

Only in government does a spending increase of 4%, in real dollars, represent a cut of 50%, because it wasn't the 8% increase originally asked for. It's kinda like saying that because I got a 5% raise instead of the 10% I was hoping for, that my pay was cut 5%. In the real world, $105 is a 5% raise on $100, not a cut from the $110 that exists only in fantasy land.

February 17, 2003

Only in dreams . . .

Suppose the County Board lowered the tax rate so that you didn't have to pay 17.2% more in real estate taxes this year because your appraisal (and your taxes) increased by double digits for the third straight year.

Nah! Not gonna happen (unless we all yell and scream real loud).

But suppose they did the Right Thing. See how much of a 'rebate' you would get. Thanks to ACTA member Robert T. Molleur for this most excellent analysis.

What part of "No" don't they understand?

Despite the defeat of the sales tax referendum last November, the usual suspects in Richmond are at it again -- raising our taxes, that is. They have a plan that would allow localities to issue debt without having to ask those pesky voters first.