you pave your way out of congestion?
the Republicans' lousy transportation bill solve our transportation
the governor sign it?
Let’s take these in order:
doesn’t fix congestion, it aids and abets it.
(More on that in just a moment.) This bill will have
as much impact on transportation in Virginia as a
wad of spit would in the Atlantic. First News Flash:
This is not about transportation! This is politics,
baby! Politics with a capital ‘P.’
should the governor sign it? See ‘First News
is no win for the governor in a veto. None.
guv could spend the rest of his life doing road
shows -- and maybe get it explained to ten people.
Probably seventy-five percent of Virginians don't
even know the legislature has been in session —
and of those who do, the majority don’t care.
They’re frazzled to the max with more important
things — like getting home, getting supper on the
table and getting the homework done.
the bond component runs the state credit card
through the ol' swipe machine — all state-backed
bonds do — but we’ve still got some room in this
department. I checked this morning. At the end of
2006, Virginia’s per-capita outstanding bonded
debt was $136.75, the lowest it has been since 2001.
(Ten years ago it was $169.29.)
sure, this clever bill — and it is clever
(more on that in a moment, too) — does raid the
General Fund. Sorta. In a small-potatoes way. But
there is precedent for raids like this. The
late/great A. L. Philpott did exactly the same thing
years ago when he carved out set-aside money for an
upgrade of U.S. 58 across Southside Virginia.
taxing authorities? This is my favorite. This one
makes local governments dance and chirp like
crickets on a hot rock.
NOVA (Northern Virginia) poobahs get elected by
running against the state, giving away the store
recruiting all the growth and congestion they
can lay hands on, and by approving subdivisions
helter-skelter and around the clock. Then they say
to Richmond, "We've got a problem.
You've got to fix it. Pave us out of
reality is they've got all the tools they need to
straighten out their own messes — all they need
except two. (This being a ‘family values’ sort
of column, let’s just say they’re appendages to
the male anatomy sometimes associated with courage
— or, in their absence, the lack thereof.)
Jefferson said that lotteries are the fairest form
of taxation existent, in that the burden is laid
only upon the backs of the willing. A better
argument has never been made for regional taxing
course, the dozen or so localities authorized by
this bill to further tax themselves will dance and
hop the highest on this one — see “appendages”
and “lack thereof,” above — and screech like
banshees that they’re already paying enough taxes
if they could just get more of their money back.
this point they have a legitimate issue. I concede
it. The fabulous economic engine that is Northern
Virginia has carried the rest of us for years. (A
personal note: Thank you — we needed it.)
too, there is precedent. Second News Flash: at
base level, taxation is a mechanism that
redistributes wealth — theoretically, and
sometimes in actuality, for the common good.
That’s what taxes are; that’s what taxes do.
Been that way since Robin Hood.
back to the cleverness of this bill — and I’d
say it’s purely accidental, Republicans generally
aren’t that smart — it is slick. Intentionally
or not, Virginia Republicans have let the Governor catch
the truck with this one.
his best move? Should he herk-n-jerk all over the
state trying to explain what a farce it truly is and
why it needs his veto? From here in the cheap seats,
signing it appears to be a better option.
I know signing is better — Virginia Republicans
are praying for his veto on this — but politics
aside, we’ve got to get transportation off the
table for now. It’s blocking a lot of other
important stuff — like 40,000 additional kids
coming into our higher education system — 40,000
kids with no place to sit.
March 21, 2007