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ACTA President Speaks at County Board's Budget Hearing

At the Arlington County Board's budget hearing this evening, ACTA's president, Tim Wise, was speaker #85 during the two-minute time slots. His comments follow:

"Good evening, chairman and Board members. My name is Timothy Wise, and I am president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association.

"Let’s start with history. According to your most recent annual report, the CAFR, in 2003, you spent almost $714 million. Ten years later in 2012 you spent  almost $1.1 billion, an increase of almost 54%.

"However. if you had controlled your “tax and spend” habits by limiting your spending to inflation and population increase, you would have spent $976 million, or $120 million less over ten years. So where is the $120 million that you have plundered from Arlington County’s taxpayers?

"Last fall, you provided the Manager direction for preparing her FY2014 proposed budget. Following your direction, she ended-up recommending a real estate tax increase of 3.2 cents. But, apparently. the so-called affordable housing special interests got to you, and you advertised a five cent tax rate increase. My question, were you correct last fall when you gave your budget direction to the Manager, or are you correct now? Arlington County taxpayers deserve an answer.

"Finally, I see that your $1 million bus stops have gone viral (for more about these so-called "super stops," see this Washington Post story by Patricia Sullivan).  But apparently, Arlington residents haven’t yet learned that four of you want to spend $250 million for a streetcar that will perform virtually identical on Columbia Pike to a $53 million Bus Rapid Transit.  As a result, Marty, the zebra from Madagascar 3, has a message about the Columbia Pike streetcar (for more on Marty the Zebra, first see this You Tube video and then this one): Shake Marty.

Kudos to the speakers, including members of the Arlington County Tea Party, who turned-out to oppose the Columbia Pike Streetcar Initiative. As more than one speaker pointed out, the county is essentially headed over a fiscal cliff if it continues with this boondoggle. An excellent resource for what four of the five County Board masterminds are up to with the Columbia Pike streetcar initiative, visit Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit, organized by a broad spectrum of Arlington citizens.

And make an effort to attend Wednesday evening's town hall meeting at Kenmore Middle School, 200 South Carlin Springs Road. The event begins at 6:30 PM with a welcome and overview by Arlington County Board chairman Walter Tejada at 7:00 PM. The Board has even hired a "facilitator" to handle the Q&A that is scheduled for 7:45 -- 8:55 PM. A detailed agenda is available here

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