Great Minds Thinks Alike

I don’t know if George Hoffer, a VCU professor of economics, has ever read the Bacon’s Rebellion blog, but his ideas about transportation funding are very similar to mine. Maybe it’s a case of great minds thinking alike. Not only has he advocated a road-funding scheme for Virginia that is nearly identical to mine, but he has added some subtle improvements. Read his column in today’s Times-Dispatch and weep – – for joy.

Hoffer recognizes that the gasoline tax is living on borrowed time. “By the 2016 model year,” he writes, “the average fuel efficiency for all the new cars and light trucks will have increased from the current 25 miles per gallon to 35.5.” In its place, he recommends a “highway user tax system,” the centerpiece of which is a variable charge based upon the number of vehicle miles driven the previous month.

Replacing the current 17.5-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax would require a charge equivalent to 1.1 cents per mile. (I have not double-checked his arithmetic, but I assume that it is accurate.)

Think about it: The IRS allowance for business travel is $.50 per mile. The per-mile tax would be equivalent to about two percent of the total cost of car ownership! Hoffer proposes dedicating the revenues to maintenance, as I do, so it should be easy to justify raising the charge an extra penny per mile (or whatever is needed) to pay for the privilege of driving upon safe, well-maintained roads, including the cost of fixing our backlog of decrepit bridges. (Alas, Hoffer also suggests that the fee could be raised to cover the cost of new construction, a point with which I disagree.)

Hoffer would modify the base charge as follows: a lower fee for travel on unpaid roads and a higher fee for heavier vehicles. (I had never considered an adjustment for unpaved roads.)

Hoffer also backs the idea of a separate charge based upon the number of miles driven in a congested area. Writes Hoffer: “This tax/user fee is designed to better utilize existing roads and to cover the cost of capital for new roads where excess demand exists.” Exactly.

Finally, Hoffer explains in his column how the GPS satellite-based billing system would work. He also has some ideas on how to deal with the problem of taxing out-of-state drivers.

Sooner or later, the citizens of Virginia will understand that someone has to pay the maintenance of existing roads and construction of new ones, and politically the idea of getting someone else to pay for them just won’t fly. Sooner or later, citizens will grasp the principle that the people who use and benefit from the road system are the people who should pay for it. Once they grasp that fundamental principle, we’ll move on to the idea that they should pay other location-variable costs.

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157 responses to “Great Minds Thinks Alike”

  1. E M Risse Avatar

    Jim Bacon said:

    "Sooner or later, the citizens of Virginia will understand that someone has to pay the maintenance of existing roads…"

    OK

    "… and construction of new ones,…"

    Not sure about that at all. The future of Mobity and Access is not Roadways.

    "… and politically the idea of getting someone else to pay for them just won't fly."

    ESPECIALLY if we do not need new roads.

    "Sooner or later, citizens will grasp the principle that the people who use and benefit from the road system are the people who should pay for it."

    Let us call it the Mobility and Access system because 'the road system' is not going to cary citizens into the future.

    "Once they grasp that fundamental principle, we'll move on to the idea that they should pay other location-variable costs."

    Now we are talking. More in "Future Sketches."

    EMR

  2. so how can Bacon call me a liberal partisan when I'm pretty much in full agreement with his RINO transportation solutions?

    Why RINO? Well.. RINOs are often accused of "revenue neutral" changes …that in the future walk and talk like tax increases but we call them "fees" instead like if you even dare say the word "tax".

    I'm after the same result but in a less complex, less messy way.

    Index the current 17.5 tax and dedicate and the current 1/2% sales tax SOLELY to maintenance and operations.

    Devolve 600 series roads to the localities and give them a local option sales tax to pay for their local roads

    Everything else becomes a pay-for-play road – with congestion pricing variants where so indicated.

    The system for receiving a "cell phone"-like itemized transaction list already exists without a …now pay attention here…..

    without a BIG GOVERNMENT GPS program… that I am really surprised that Jim Bacon.. supports because he obviously knows what would happen if we created a new VDOT/DMV entity called the Office of GPS Tomfoolery.

    and REALLY… some pencil-headed tweeb on the 9th floor of some corner office in Richmond is going to "turn off" your car for non-payment of fees…

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

    I thought you said this guy was talking common sense….

    we're back to the turnip truck here…

    I wanna see who's going to put one of the GPS units in Grovetons Telsa Roadster.

    I can hear it now.. "no until you pry out of my cold stiff hands….my Captain Midnight Buttstinger".

  3. Groveton Avatar

    Bacon is right. Vehicle miles driven is the right way to raise revenue for road transportation. And everybody who drives should pay. Everybody.

    As for GPS tracking – that's a good idea too. Because it would allow the distribution of the taxes from the vehicle miles driven back to the roads where the mileage was incurred.

    I just don't know why it's only for maintenance. Every road needs to be replaced someday. The charge should be per mile for maintenance and eventual replacement. Congested roads wear out faster so I'd expect the replacement costs to be higher. Of course, congested roads also have more drivers driving more miles. So, the denominator is also bigger. I really don't know if the numerator will overwhelm the denominator or the other way around.

    As for privacy – spare me. Your cell phone constantly transmits to the nearby cell towers. You are being tracked then. The state forces you to register you car and put a state issued license plate on the car. Cameras take a picture when you run a red light. You car is identified every time you go through a toll with EZPass. Anybody who wants to follow you or film you when you drive in public is free to do so. Finally, you have no right to drive. It is not covered in either the US or Virginia constitutions. Driving is a privilege extend by society through the legislature to people in society. If you don't like the rules – don't drive.

    As for the RINO charge – that's ridiculous as long as the gasoline tax is abolished in lieu of the new vehicle miles driven tax. The real scam is listening to Virginia's politicians drone on about jobs while refusing to address the transportation crisis.

  4. re: " As for privacy – spare me. Your cell phone constantly transmits to the nearby cell towers."

    Groveton my man are you DAFT?

    Would you want VDOT to run the cell phone network?

    Would you want ANY govt entity to run the cell phone network?

    re: transportation crisis

    like the Fed Deficit – gonna blame McDonnell for not fixing it before he even tries?

    I'm not worried about GPS privacy.. (though ya'll totally underestimate most folks on this)..

    I'm opposed to having a brand new govt agency that is going to be making us buy $500 units that the market would price at $29…. and they give some govt contractor a cost plus contract to maintain the network.. and it would come in way over budget and years late…

    GPS mileage is never going to work.

    If you want to do that – just take the odometer reading when the car gets a new inspection sticker and require all outstanding bills to be paid before you can get new plates.

    The GPS sounds just like a cockamamie govt scheme.. tailor made as a funding black hole.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – generally, automobiles and light trucks do not cause much road damage. Damage to roads and bridges are chiefly caused by heavy trucks, which in Virginia, at least, are subsidized by all other drivers. All drivers should pay for general maintenance, such as plowing and repainting, but big trucks should be forced to pay for the bulk of all other maintenance and rebuilding costs.

    So long as the Commonwealth Transportation Board operates as it does, I'd oppose any higher charges to build roads. The CTB doesn't usually spend money on road projects that help safety and reduce congestion. They exist to funnel money to real estate developers and big contractors. Witness the fees imposed on the Dulles Toll Road to enrich both developers and Bechtel. They tossed Senator Omer Hirst's promise in the toilet and flushed.

    We need more transparency on lobbying in Virginia before we start charging anyone higher fees or taxes.

    TMT

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    "By the 2016 model year," he writes, "the average fuel efficiency for all the new cars and light trucks will have increased from the current 25 miles per gallon to 35.5."

    ——————————-

    That has nothing whatsoever to do with the viability of the gas tax, only the tax rate.

    No matter what other funding scheme is devised, it will be mathematically equivalent to a gas tax at some rate.

    No matter what other funding schme is devised, it will be less efficient and cost more to collect than the gas tax.

    No matter what other funding scheme is devised, it will not haval the other, free, salubrious effects the gas tax has.

    There is one possible exception. Sinc transportation i so closeytiedt commerce,simply fund rods and road maintenance with an addtion to the sales tax.

    RH

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    The system for receiving a "cell phone"-like itemized transaction list already exists without a …now pay attention here…..

    Cell phones will soon be outlawed in automobiles, and automobiles will have mandatory cell phone jamming installed.

    Mark my words, this is a done deal.

    Anyway, i dosn't matter whether such an idiotic system is run by government or not, it will till be a big bureaucratic GPS system.

    This idea is as dumb as toast.

    H

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Vehicle miles driven is the right way to raise revenue for road transportation. And everybody who drives should pay. Everybody.

    ================================

    What about weight, horsepower, and speed?

    If this happens, it is the end of light, small, lowhorsepower cars for me.

    I WANT A FREAKING TANK.

    rh

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Damage to roads and bridges are chiefly caused by heavy trucks,

    —————————–

    Not true.

    Heavy trucks cause much more damage per vehicle than cars and light trucks, but each of them does take a proportionate toll on the roads.

    Otherwise, culdesacs would never wear out.

    Heavy trucks are a small proportion of the total traffic, so while th damage they cause is relatively high the damage from light trucks and cars is not insignificant, by virtue of numbers and miles traveled.

    RH

  10. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, even partisan liberals and RINOs can agree sometimes — especially when they're right!

    Groveton, I agree with you regarding charging high enough VMD fees to recover replacement costs. Consider the Bacon Plan to be amended accordingly.

  11. Groveton Avatar

    LarryG:

    The government can design, fund, build and maintain the roads but can't run a GPS system. The government can manage air traffic in real time but can't run a GPS system. The government (i.e. NSA) can operate the most sophisticated electronic surveillance system in the history of the world but the government can't run a GPS system.

    Let's be honest Larry – for all of your talk to the contrary you really don't want to pay your location variable costs. Have you finally figured out that the endless transfer payments from NoVa to RoVa are real? Have you finally figured out that your location variable costs are being heavily subsidized by NoVa? Are you now a proud member of the location entitlement society?

  12. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    When the Ford Escape hybrid first came out, I traded in a V10 Excursion. Even though I paid 7 grand more than a conventional Escape and took a bath on the trade in, I felt the extra cost was justified because of the gas savings and my duty to help reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil. Then came the first car tax bill and the second and on and on for a vehicle the state believes never depreciates, but whose gas mileage went to hell back when they first switched to the 10% ethanol blend.

    Now along comes people who want to charge me for the miles driven because evidently I don't pay enough, and they want me to install a government certified GPS to make sure I pay my 'fair' share.

    If this became law, I'd be tempted to go back to my hillbilly ways by driving a beat up, smoky old pick up with recapped mud grips and an odometer that hasn't worked in the last 10 years.

  13. re: " for all of your talk to the contrary you really don't want to pay your location variable costs"

    oh vey! this is not an honest statement Groveton – at ALL!

    I WANT TOLLS so I CAN PAY my location variable costs – as well as others.

    We ALREADY have a perfectly good system for tolling that does not require toll booths.

    It's handy, convenient and it bills just like cell phone minutes where you can check your "usage" anytime you want.

    Putting a govt-owned GPS in EVERY CAR is a SPECTACULARLY dumb idea ESPECIALLY coming form a guy who calls government officials "clowns" for screwing up left and right.

    I'm much less hard line on Govt… on issues that are VITAL to the direct health & welfare of people – that private industry has proven they will not address – in tose cases, we have no choice but to have govt get involved – AND to SUFFER the wounds that the govt does inflict in it's ham-handed, one-size-fits-all approach to many problems.

    But paying for roads is CLEARLY something that pvt industry can do successfully and is – across the country.

    Groveton bleats plaintively about TAXES imposed by GOVT.

    Well the GPS system will be not only a tax but done with a system that rivals the worst of the 3202 legislation – when a simple check of the odometer at state inspect times would accomplish the same thing quite easily.

    we've got the ability to easily toll vehicles now..using the same essential technology that the rest of the world is converted to – character recognition scanning and RFID.

    but we don't even need this for maintenance on existing roads.

    we already have easy already existent choices.

    One of them is to essentially bump up the 1/2% sales tax to 2 or 3% – whatever is sufficient to pay current maintenance costs – and because it is a percent – it automatically indexes.

    that takes care of road maintenance and operation costs.

    BTW roads don't "wear out" and get "replaced".

    They just dig up the current pavement and put down a new layer… the right-of-way, guardrails, ramps, traffic signals are all still there so you're really confusing what is maintenance and what is not.

    So.. anyhow. we have a really easy way to pay for maintenance and pretty fair… too…

    the issue is how to have a system to build NEW roads in a way that is NOT a slush fund approach that is easy for politicos and developers to get their hands on and pervert the process from one of true need to political appropriation.

    the current system for building new roads is corrupt and corruptible because it is essentially a giant slush fund administered as TMT has pointed out by political appointees who are a who's who of the development community.

    Your GPS solution would continue this slush fund concept…

    You'd take all the money generated by NoVa drivers with their GPS units and send it to Richmond and then Richmond would decide how much you'd get and how much they'd keep…same as now.

    why would you support this?

    Let's do the maintenance and cap it with a defined percentage that goes ONLY for maintenance

    but I'm unalterably opposed to any system that will result in a slush fund administered by Richmond and political appointees.

  14. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Breaking News!

    Virginia governor McDonnell releases new energy policy.

    Governor Bob McDonnell announced a plan this morning to take on the electric company monopoly. Saying that campaign donations were no longer sufficient to justify protected favors, McDonnell proposed a new energy plan that frees Virginia citizens to generate their own electricity.

    "Since we didn't get much money for High Speed Rail, and the chances of huge oil royalties from off shore drilling is remote, I've come up with a new scheme to generate the jobs I promised in my campaign for governor."

    Stating that Virginia needs to head off in a new direction by collecting as much of Obama's 100 billion dollars in job money as possible to help mask the state's budget deficit, McDonnell's cronies are busy finalizing a new jobs plan to present to the General Assembly for passage by the dark of night.

    Although details are sketchy, an anonymous source reported that much of the new money will go to build a critical mass of college educated, certified solar and wind specialists who will earn an average 30 grand a year. When asked if this is just another scheme to generate a bunch of hot air, the source replied, "No, we already have Americans for Prosperity for that. This is Real Baby, Real."

    Benefits to the beaten down taxpayer include:

    Householders and communities who install low carbon electricity technology such as solar photovoltaic (pv) panels and wind turbines up to 5 megawatts will be paid for the electricity they generate, even if they use it themselves.

    They will get a further payment for electricity they feed into the grid.

    There was no word on how the homeowner was supposed to come up with the money to install this equipment however, because the state does have a budget crisis ya know. Further information can be found at:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6101CX20100201

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    The government can run a GPS ssytem but it is a stupid, expensive way to collect a tax.

    RH

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    Darrell, sorry to hear about your hybrid experience.

    My Prius has been nothing but excellent, in every respect, and no problem with ethanol.

    Your comment about the state depreciation schedule is instructive. I always felt the same way, and I beleive that this is the main reason the car tax was so hated: it was patently and obviously unfair.

    Had we tried, we probably could have addressed the fairness issue and kept the car tax, but fairness just seems to be too complex for some people to grasp.

    Instead, we came up with a half-ass "solution" with the result that people are still unhappy.

    RH

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    We ALREADY have a perfectly good system for tolling that does not require toll booths.

    ===============================

    This is misleading, Larry.

    Strictly speaking old time toll booths will not be required, but to achieve the goals of this system thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of rfid scanners will have to be installed statewide, and all that data will have to be networked.

    We have a good system for collecting one toll in one location, not one that will do the whole state. And that system still relies on toll booths (at least for every one I have ever seen).

    And then you need some kind of backup, like a camera system and all the data handling with DMV that that would require.

    And, we WILL wind up with cell phone jamming or disablement for cars. I have no idea whether this would screw up data handling for the RFID systems.

    We already use signal density from cell phones to predict traffic backups, but automotive cell phone jamming is going to eliminate that, as well.

    RH

    RH

  18. If a private toll road company offered a "free" GPS – you know like cell phone companies do…

    and you could buy "plans" that ranged from pure tolls to per mile use.. then we could let folks pick the plans that best fit their circumstances and operate more like a market-based commodity.

    The GPS would become a value-added device – for instance giving you real time info about congestion and the current tolls and transit times AND work-around routes and the like.

    It might come bundled with cell-phone bluetooth, real-time gasoline prices/locations, where the nearest parking is, etc…

    Drivers could earn "toll points" or "free" toll days in various ways.

    Free TripTiks automatically downloaded into your unit for your trip…

    etc, etc, etc.. what you want is INNOVATION.. driven by a system that strives to identify value-added services that customers decide – without imposition – to willingly pay and get valuable things in return.

    I'd choose GOGGLE to do it.

    I have ZERO CONFIDENCE that the govt is capable of this.

    I actually AGREE with Jim Bacon and others that for a lot of things Govt IS a disaster but I differ when we have no choice and the private sector fails to provide a true market solution for things that affect people's lives in life and death ways.

    About the only agency I can conceive of is POSSIBLY the DMV who STILL has a root-canal experience at their so-called "service" centers but at least they were able to move some transactions to the web.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    "But paying for roads is CLEARLY something that pvt industry can do successfully and is – across the country."

    ==============================

    No it isn't. Toll roads have gone bankrupt. And the real funding mechanism amounts to securitizing the mortgages on the roads that get built.

    If you liked the housing fiasco, wait till you see what this brings down on us.

    Macquarie is not a road builder – it's a BANK.

    RH

  20. Anonymous Avatar

    "One of them is to essentially bump up the 1/2% sales tax to 2 or 3% – whatever is sufficient to pay current maintenance costs – and because it is a percent – it automatically indexes."

    Exactly right, and commerce is reasonably closely tied to transportation. Not as good as energy used, but the syatem is already in place.

    RH

  21. SOME TOLL Roads have gone broke – mostly those that were not properly analyzed with regard to the likely number of people willing to pay a particular toll.

    It's not something that most DOTs have a capable in-house way of calculating but there are a LOT of tolls roads that are very successful.

    More important – you won't get new roads from raising the gas tax because the numbers do not work in part because only 1/3 of VDOT's budget comes from the Va gas tax.

    To continue to advocate for a gas tax increase is dumb because it's fiscally unworkable and politically unworkable and even if it did work – it would continue the current system that allows developers to get their hands on road money – and most folks are not going to agree to continue this.

    That leaves other options to pursue – and you have to choose the best of the less liked options.

    That's why I pick tolls.

    I am actually looking for a real way to go forward… not endless and non-productive ideas that will go nowhere..

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    "SOME TOLL Roads have gone broke – mostly those that were not properly analyzed with regard to the likely number of people willing to pay a particular toll."

    ——————————

    What is your point? I claim that becasue some toll roads have gone broke that we cannot make the bald headed assertion that private enterprise knows how to build and operate roads.

    FURTHERMORE

    There are PLENTY of state run roads that have gone broke, only we don't know it because we don;t do the accounting. This is the point that Groveton (and EMR) makes when he points out that if we ever get an RFID or GPS system, people in the countryside are going to be appallled at what the "appropriate" toll will be.

    Besides that, if we go to an all toll system, the analysis of how many people will be likely to pay the toll is pretty much moot: you either pay the toll or starve.

    RH

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    there are a LOT of tolls roads that are very successful.

    —————————–

    There ae a lot of health insurers who are successful, too. It is called cherry picking.

    You cannot logically argue from the specific to the general on this. Just because there is one toll road that worked doesn't mean that an entire system of them will work.

    And I'll say it again, there is no difference between a toll and a gas tax: it works out to be X cents per mile either way.

    It is just that the toll is a lot more expensive to collect and offers none of the other salubrous effects that a gas (or energy) tax does.

    RH

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    "To continue to advocate for a gas tax increase is dumb because it's fiscally unworkable and politically unworkable and even if it did work "

    —————————–

    It is not fiscally or politically unworkable. Other states have sucessfully raised gas taxes.

    It cannot be fiscally unworkable because it is mathematically the same as a toll system: X cents per mile, when all is said and done.

    The only reason it is politically unworkable is because the no more tax guys have dug a trench and pulled it in on themselves. They simply REFUSE to work on it, which is a whole different concept than the job being unworkable.

    And no matter what alternative you come up with, it will be a lie, because in the end it is still a new tax. Only this new tax is distinguished by also being a WORSE tax, because it is wateful and inefficient.

    RH

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    "it would continue the current system that allows developers to get their hands on road money – and most folks are not going to agree to continue this."

    =================================

    Aha, so the problem isn't how the money is collected, it is how it is spent that bugs you.

    Collection via tolls won't fix that problem.

    RH

  26. how much toll can be charged that will be attractive enough to drivers has a LOT to do with NEED and the process for determining this is not a DOT skill in general but more of a marketing skill similar to analyzes that focus on the cost of a product verses what people are willing to pay for it – thus some products never come to the market or they do and the product goes away because it cannot be produced for the price-point limits of what consumers will pay.

    For Toll roads, you have the cost of the infrastructure and that cost can vary quite significantly according to how many developed properties have to be acquired and that, in turn affects the necessary tolls to pay for the road and there is a limit to what people will pay that is independent of the actual cost of the road.

    A good example of this is the CBBT where the tolls are significant – and they have to be to pay the costs of that very expensive infrastructure but it would never had been built, for instance, if the tolls that would have been required would have cost $50 per trip…

    so they had to go through an analysis with respect to actual construction (and operational, maintenance) costs and then what the minimum toll would have to be to pay for it.

    This is where some of the DOTs and banks have screwed up because they end up with overly ambitious scenarios that don't pan out.

    The CBBT was done right – as have been the vast majority of toll roads.

    You're wrong about the "no mo tax" folks and gas taxes – virtually every poll shows widespread opposition in the 80% range.

    To ignore this is just plain dumb RH.

    they are pretty much opposed to even modest increases much less the amount that would actually be needed – about a quarter.

    it will never happen… and to continue to advocate for that path is ….just unrealistic.

    Toll Roads are not going to go away – that's a reality.

    They are not going to take the tolls off of the CBBT and fund it from gas taxes…

  27. " Collection via tolls won't fix that problem."

    not totally but much better as each toll road in the budget has a separate fund and separate accountability and much harder to appropriate the funds without everyone knowing it.

    the gas tax is totally opaque.

    Both you and Groveton jump up and down about how your gas taxes go to Richmond and don't go back.. but you want to give them more money.

    why?

  28. Anonymous Avatar

    – and most folks are not going to agree to continue this.

    ================================

    Unsubstantiated claim.

    This is government by poll or government by acclimation.

    The decision about how to allocate resources relating to the built environment has an impact on all sectors of our economy, primarily because of the complex relationship between utilizing natural resources and economic output. Many times, the cost of utilizing these resources and/or services include direct costs as
    well as opportunity costs and external costs, which are not traded in markets or assessed directly in monetary terms.

    If you can find a way to allow the market to express all of these forms of property and people have an opportunity to trade and benefit from them, then you will find that a lot more people are eager to participate.

    You think this is about developers getting a boost at the expense of the people, and your response is to stop it. My approach is to marketize the problem and let people decide with real dollars rather than nebulous studies.

    The way you do this is issue building permits and development rights separately. The county controls building permits which it issues based only on the technical merits: setbacks, roads, drainage, schools, etc.

    The permit is CONDITIONAL on being able to accumulate the required number of Development Rights. But the county does not control development rights directly: instead they are issued proportionatly to the population.

    Once a developer has his project approved technically, it is up to him to sell the project to the people and buy up their development rights in the process.

    If you are correct, then "most folks" will refuse to sell their Development Rights Chits, and the big bad corrupt developers will be out of luck.

    But, if the developers offer enough money, then "some folks" will agree to sell their DRC's,and the project can go forward. no if's and's or but's and no public hearings required.

    Now, if the Developer is paying enough to make the people see the benefit in his project, and they willingly allow it to go forward, then how is the Developer any longer some kind of crook?

    Is this just another kind of MOB rule? No, because in this case a deal is struck only when the price is right.

    Naturally, if I live next door to the proposed fiasco, I may never agree that the price is right, but if the builder is able to accumulate enough DRC's to go forward, at a price he can afford, then the market has just proven me wrong.

    And no benevolent "Great Decider" is involved.

    RH

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    "not totally but much better as each toll road in the budget has a separate fund and separate accountability and much harder to appropriate the funds without everyone knowing it.

    the gas tax is totally opaque."

    ===============================

    Nonsense.

    Now you are just changing the argument. Any accounting you want to do with tolls you could do with gas tax. That is a separate and distinct issue as to whether the gas tax can work, work better, and work more efficiently than tolls.

    Of course, the more you make the gas tax look like tolls, the less efficient it becomes. The more you insist on local money for local projects or "full locatonal costs" the more transaction costs you have and the less economy of scale you have and the less you get done.

    Which from your point of view is the whole purpose: deny, delay and conserve.

    Even if that lowers the net public benefit overall, the name of the game is to get what you want and have someone else pay.

    RH

  30. Anonymous Avatar

    "Otherwise, culdesacs would never wear out."

    Typical "RH" foolishness.

    Cul de Sacs have moving trucks, delivery trucks — appliances come in big trucks — snow plows loaded with salt, three or four garbage / recycling trucks a week… all infrastucture wears out.

    TMT is right weight distance is the way to go.

    Groveton understands location-variable costs!! and nails Larry who still is in deep denial hoping no one will notice that he is heavily subsidized for his dysfunctional location-related costs.

    Sorry Larry, you are a pale shade of green.

    Groveton: most consider maintaintence to include replacement.

    But no one even mentioned the reality raised by Risse. Roadways will not provide Mobility and Acess in the future.

    SEJ (Formerly Anon Zeus)

  31. " This is government by poll or government by acclimation."

    this is government by voting.

    If you are a politician and you are dumb enough to think you know better than 80% of your constituents – you are free to believe that – in the unemployment line.

    We don't do government by polls but if you are an elected official and you ignore the polls.. then the word "elected" gets removed from your title.

    You tax & spend guys don't get this do you?

    The Constitution you reference all the time says that we ELECT folks … you can insert the phrase "mob rule" in place of that but you're the only guy reading that version.

  32. re: pale shade of green

    ha ha ha .. what a lout you are

    I support TOLLS – the ULTIMATE location variable charge and THE WAY to deal with commuting SPRAWL!

    If you want to SPRAWL, you SHOULD PAY for your location variable costs – and with tolls you will.

    In fact, if your "green" self will check the websites of organizations like Environmental Defense and NRDC, you will see my position is their position – EXACTLY.

    that's not exactly denial…

  33. Anonymous Avatar

    you SHOULD PAY for your location variable costs – and with tolls you will.

    ===============================

    Maybe, but there are better cheaper, more effectve and more effcient ways to do it.

    The NET money needed is the same wh any proposal, but the cost of getting that money is much higher with tolls.

    It is wasted money that could be spent on some more valuable environmental initiative.

    RH

  34. Anonymous Avatar

    Typical "RH" foolishness.

    Cul de Sacs have moving trucks, delivery trucks — appliances come in big trucks — snow plows loaded with salt, three or four garbage / recycling trucks a week… all infrastucture wears out.

    OK, so it was a slight hyperbole, but culdesacs see nowhere near the heavy traffic that truck routes do.

    A culdesac wll wear ot from rain and snow before it is seriously damaged by heavy truck traffic.

    Let's be reasonable here and not simply attack each other for the fun of it.

    RH

  35. Anonymous Avatar

    You tax & spend guys don't get this do you?

    ============================

    You think I'm a tax and spend guy?

    I'm the one arguing that we should NOT spend money putting in yet ANOTHER elaborate tax collection system.

    RH

  36. Anonymous Avatar

    So if 80% who elect him want to revert to slavery, that's OK, otherwise he will be unemployed.

    All I'mm telling you is that I am far more inclined to believe someone's opinon when he has to back it up with his own money.

    Hollow opinion polls and "reforms" that only affect others are just veneer glued over a stolen table.

    RH

  37. Anonymous Avatar

    "Roadways will not provide Mobility and Acess in the future."

    ——————————-

    Maybe not, but for the next hundred years or so the vast majority of us will use roads and some kind of independently powered vehicle.

    Let's work with what we have got, for now.

    RH

  38. re: " I'm the one arguing that we should NOT spend money putting in yet ANOTHER elaborate tax collection system"

    and…. advocating a tax increase for "as much as it takes"….

    I call that tax&spend – yes

  39. Anonymous Avatar

    The Constitution you reference all the time says that we ELECT folks … you can insert the phrase "mob rule" in place of that but you're the only guy reading that version.

    =================================

    It also says we have an obligation to protect minorities, and pay for property taken.

    I may be the only guy looking at it as a total system, and not a single phrase that I can pull out and try to use for partisan advantage.

    RH

  40. re: " So if 80% who elect him want to revert to slavery, "

    most folks – the 80% are not going to vote against their own interests.

    It's pretty arrogant of you to suggest that the elected official knows better than the 80% but that does seem to be the basic premise of the tax & spend types.. i.e. the elected should show some "spine" … and increase taxes…when they are needed.

  41. " It also says we have an obligation to protect minorities, and pay for property taken."

    It also says that we get to decide how to protect the minorities and how to decide what the value is of property.

    you've just got your own interpretation that is not in agreement with others.

    You might also note – that only specifically named minorities are protected – like the handicapped but not others like gay couples or cross-dressing Walmart Associate Wannabes.

  42. Anonymous Avatar

    and…. advocating a tax increase for "as much as it takes"….

    =============================

    Distortion.

    This entire conversation is based on the premise that transportation needs more money. If it does NOT need more money then we don;t need tolls.

    But whatever we decide the spending level is, the net amount needed will be the same, regardless of how we collect the taxes.

    I'm opposed to collecting the taxes wastefully, whether the amount collected s large or small.

    I am not advocating for more, or less, taxes. I am arguing that there is a RIGHT amount, and we do not even know whether that is more or less, because our decision system is BROKEN.

    Anyone who is not interested in finding out the RIGHT amount, is working against my interests. The only reason I can even imagine that someone would NOT want the right amount is because they think they can "win", "pull something over" or otherwise come out ahead with the WRONG amount.

    RH

  43. re: "as much as it takes"

    I've never heard a number from you guy as to how much more is needed – only that we should increase the gas tax – and yes, I can probably quote the "as much as it takes" from previous discussions.

    Let's hear a plan. how much "more" do we need and how would we pay for it?

    VDOT has a number – you don't hear it much anymore – 100 billion dollars.

    if folks REALLY wanted to justify a tax increase – they'd list the projects that the 100 billion would buy – and the price-tag….

    and then go from there.

    A billion dollars – BTW is 20 cents tax….

    so if we raise the tax 20 cents, we can generate 100 billion over the next 100 years

    OR.. we can double it to 40 cents and complete the task in only 50 years…

    so give me a number… what is a "good" number for our "needs"?

    My view is that if you cannot provide such a number, you have no business advocating a tax increase.

    but the vast, vast majority of folks who advocate increasing the gas tax – they don't have a number… nope.

  44. Anonymous Avatar

    It also says that we get to decide how to protect the minorities and how to decide what the value is of property.

    ============================

    You mean like separate but equal schools?

    You mean like the time I got a $1000 tax bill for a $500.00 motorcycle?

    Fine, you can claim the right to set a value on my property, but then the Golden Rule says you must allow me to set the value on yours.

    I think we can do better than that: We can use the pie solution: you cut the pie but I get first pick of the slices.

    Much as you would prefer to think that fair is not achieveable, there are ways to at least make the approach.

    You simply prefer not to look. "This is the way it is, dude, take it or leave it."

    But as long as you start with mob rule and disproportionate rights, you have blown your cover. You have no intention of supporting the spirit of the Constitution which requires compensation when property is taken —– no matter how much "good" is done by the theft.

    RH

  45. re: " You simply prefer not to look"

    you have to convince me to take a SECOND look an you won't do that with your current approach with me nor others.

    We cannot pay everyone right now compensation because we took away the right to dump poison in the rivers years back.

    the whole concept is so bizarre as to be hilarious….

    go repeat your idea to 1000 people and tell me how many buy it.. and all 1000 then become "thieves" and a "mob" because they differ.

  46. Anonymous Avatar

    Jim Bacon:

    "Great minds think alike" is generally used sarcastically. the full thught is expressed variously as:

    "Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ" or as "Great minds may think alike, but the best think for themselves."

    RH

  47. Anonymous Avatar

    the whole concept is so bizarre as to be hilarious….

    OK just read YOUR OWN WORDS literally: we took away the right to dump poison in the rivers years back……

    Did we pay for the right we took? did we redistribut it more fairly. In your own words it sounds very much like a description of theft.

    You have retreated to the NO RIGHT argument. But the golden rule would then require that you equally have no right. We cannot live without some pollution, period. But then you say it isn't pollution as long as it cuases no damage: sufficient dilution is the solution to pollution.

    There is no point in going there again. If the soap manufacturer is utterly prohibited from polluting the river, then so is the soap user. We are not going to do without soap so we will tolerate some pollution. The Golden Rule says you ae not allowed to be less tolerant than you expect others to be.

    =================================

    the whole concept is so bizarre as to be hilarious….

    I suggest you read:

    http://www.enviroliteracy.org/pdf/EnviroEcon-vol1.pdf

    page 18:

    "A key function of the market is to find the equilibrium price when supply and demand are in balance. At this price, the goods supplied are equal to what is being demanded thereby bringing about the most efficient allocation of the goods. An efficient allocation of goods in a market is one in which no one can be made better off unless someone else is made worse off."

    Pollution has a value and it has supply and demand associated with it, same as any other good that is produced.

    "When the market fails to allocate the resources efficiently, market failure can occur. One example of this is the creation of externalities. Often, this occurs when clear property rights are absent, as with air and some water resources….."

    From page 21:

    Many externalities(pollution, free rider benefits) can be internalized through the creation of well defined property rights. Through much of his work, economist Ronald Coase
    showed that taxes and subsidies were typically not necessary as long as the parties involved could strike a voluntary bargain. According to Coase's
    theorem, it does not matter who has ownership, so long as property rights exist and free trade is possible.

    Two methods of controlling negative externalities loosely related to property
    rights include cap and trade and individual transferable quotas (ITQs). ……The various sources are then given emissions or usage allowances which can be traded, bought or sold, or banked for future use……."

    Just like property.

    There is nothing bizarre about this, you just don't like it because it means you might have to be fair.

    "The options for dealing with externalities – positive or negative – are numerous,
    and often depend on the type of externality. The key is to identify the particular tool or policy alternative that will best move the market toward the most
    efficient allocation of resources.

    An efficient allocation of goods in a market is one in which no one can be made better off unless someone else is made worse off."

    If you are advocating for inefficiency then you are making someone worse off, to yur advantage, and this is functionally equivalent to stealing.

    RH

  48. Groveton Avatar

    I hear that the government couldn't possibly operate a GPS based mileage system. Just for giggles …

    Who designed, prototyped, built, launched and perfected todays's GPS? The US military. Who operates the GPS satellites today? Air Force Space Command.

    RH is right about needing thousands of toll gantries with RFID sensors under the LarryG "toll both-less tolls everywhere plan". But LarryG know this. He knows that only high usage roads will be able to sustain the costs of the gantries and he knows that the high usage roads are in urban and suburban areas. This is just another way to let people in more rural areas and small towns avoid paying for what they use. His plan will disproportionately cost NoVA, Tidewater, etc. But that's the point.

    One very low technology answer is to use the odometer readings taken at the annual safety inspection. This year – last year = miles driven. Plan on bringing a check when you come in for your inspection. There's a little breakage from people driving on private roads and out of state but not that much. The big problem remains figuring out how to allocate the money back to the roads where the driving occured. Many of Larry's neighbors, for example, demonstrate their utter contempt for the environment by commuting long distances to and from work. They drive by thousands and thousands of affordable homes on their way up and down I95 each day. If we collect the mileage tax from them we still need to figure out how to distribute that money back to roads where Larry's neighbors drive each day. This, of course, is in addition to taxing Larry for puttering around his own neighborhood wearing out the streets as he heads to/from Denny's each morning for the Grand Slam special.

    Jim Bacon has it right – everybody who drives has to pay. Everybody.

  49. Groveton.. you apparently have been smoking the same substance than RH has.

    What makes you believe that you are going to convince the 80% who oppose an increase in the gas tax to allow the govt to put a govt owned-operated device in their car?

    it's never going to happen… ever…

    you need to get some clean air guy.. you're breathing fumes apparently.

  50. Ray.. you have 1000 folks who years ago were permit to dump pollution… 1/2 or more or dead.

    We have millions of people who have had that right taken away.

    who are you going to get to compensate people?

    are you just going to tax all the folks that had the right taken away and then pay it back to them as compensation?

    I don't see where you get the money.

  51. Anonymous Avatar

    I suggest, again, that you read

    http://www.enviroliteracy.org/pdf/EnviroEcon-vol1.pdf

    These are not bizarre policies that can never work. These are proven policies looking for more applications where they WILL WORK, WILL improve environmental services, and WILL save us money in the process.

    I have no problem with environmentalists, environmentalism, or having a clean and productive environment.

    But if we are going to have a good environment and good environmental services, then we will pay for them one way or another. We may as well do it efficiently and ethically.

    I have no patience with environmentalists who are ethically challenged. No patience with those who do not understand that the law of diminishing returns applies to environmental efforts same as any other kind of effort. No patience with those who think that if a little environmentalism is good then totalitarian environmentalism must be better.

    And I really have no patience with wasteful environmentalism.

    ———————————-

    "I don't see where the money comes from…"

    Suppose someone comes up with the (correct) idea that we can save a billion dollars a year in emergency flood response by increasing the riparian setbacks.

    We don't actually save that money, because we spend it on something else. But the guy who came up with that argument for increasing riparian setbacks conveniently, cynically, or stupidly ignores the fact that it is going cost real actual money to those who are (suddenly) prohibited use of their land.

    He has done a half ass job of analysis. So you don't save a billion dollars, you save maybe $800 million and you use the other 200 million to make compensation to people like Mr. Lucas in South carolina who lost his two beach lots in order that the rest of the population could "save money".

    You can still come out ahead and use the saved money on other projects, but you have an obligation not to be unethical, avaricious, or stupid in the process. Mr. Lucas SHOULD HAVE been protected automatically, and he should not have had to spend eight years of his finite life in court, just to protect his property from the government.

    Everyone involved (including even disinterested citizen/taxpayers only vaguely and peripherally involved) would have been better off had the government acted responsibly, ethically, and fairly to begin with.

    You get the money through efficiency, and a policy is ONLY efficient if at least one person is better off and no one is worse off.

    It is only small mindedness (and outright selfishness) that prevents us from seeing this elementary truth. If we actually created a policy that made one person better off and managed not to hurt anyone else, somebody would object because they are jealous of the sole winner, and presto, you have created partisan politics, which is guaranteed to be inefficient.

    We create a policy that saves us money, like riparian setbacks. But we spend the money saved on something else: we don't actually cut taxes to recognize the savings.

    Within the riparian zone, those that are grandfathered have a whole different cost structure than those who are prohibited from future building.

    We bought new and different benefits with the money "saved" onflood response, so what we really have is an off-book tax increase to pay for those new benefits. The costs of those new benefits are borne unduly by those who were prohibited from building.

    Too make matters worse, suppose we have a flood. Those that were grandfathered will STILL get some kind of emergency flood response.

    Partially paid for by those who were prohibited from building.

    RH

  52. Anonymous Avatar

    About that 80% you keep talking about.

    It is back to governanced by acclamation and meaningless polls.

    Ask that question in a real way, that represents the real choices,with real money coming out of peoples pockets, and then talk to me about percentages.

    "Assume we are going tgo spend $300 million on roads and other transportation next year. There will be overhad costs in collecting that money. Would you rather spend $5 million to collect $300 million in spendable money or would you rather spend $50 million to get $300 million in spendable money?"

    or

    "Your next car will contain a tax collection device. Would you prefer a device that costs $500 dollars, $50 dollars, or $5?"

    "Considering your driving habits and the vihicles you drive, would you prefer that the device be calibrated at 1.1 cents per mile traveled or 25 cents per gallon used?"

    RH

  53. let's say Allied Chemical was allowed to pollute the James River for years and the govt unilaterally took the right to pollute away from everyone.

    tell me again how you would compensate those who lost that right.

    how would you determine what they are owed.

    and where would you get the money to compensate them?

  54. On the Transportation issue.

    The Virginia Constitution REQUIRES that all necessary monies be dedicated to maintenance (and operations) BEFORE anything left over can be used for new construction.

    I have absolutely no problem with increasing the gas tax and/or indexing it to assure that now and into the future that the roads are properly maintained according to industry standards – and that would INCLUDE all the neglected bridges and Interstate re-pavings.

    HOWEVER, I WOULD devolve local roads to the localities.

    and the reason why is that we should do what 46 other states do – and let the localities made land-use decisions in concert with the dollar cost impacts to road infrastructure AND, most important, the voters hold accountable the folks that make those decisions.

    On the following post, I will deal with the new roads issue.

  55. On new roads, we have a system where everyone contributes and then unelected folks including appointees from the development community decide where to put new roads.

    This begets a corrupt system that is rife with questionable decisions and practices that end up being unfair and discriminatory but worst of all, when you don't put new roads where they are actually needed – they still need to be built but the money is gone…spent on development "needs".

    and that leads to advocacies for higher taxes to build the roads that were not built.

    But the more tax money you put into this system – the more that money is abused and converted into even more decisions to build where the development community wants to build and not where the roads are actually needed.

    So you end up higher taxes that don't end up going for the purposes that were promised as the reason for the higher taxes but instead more graft and corruption.

    So I oppose this system as worse than inefficient… and essentially a redistribution of people's taxes to others who use it to benefit their personal "investments".

    We have a clear example of this – Tysons Corner.

    Look at the cost of the infrastructure that will be required to make that development "work" and then look at where those investors expect the funds to pay for to come from.

    If we had a tax increase on gasoline, the VERY FIRST people in line to get some of it – would be – the Tysons Developers.

    So we have a bad system for building new road infrastructure and it needs to change.

    Any replacement system that functions the same way – i.e. collects money from everyone and puts it in a central fund so that political appointees can make decisions on how to allocate it – will be just a continuation of the current corrupt system.

    Now that the system has run out of new road money – this is an opportunity to say – BEFORE – we commit any more taxes, that the system must change.

    And that's the essential deal.

    Change the system and we'll consider new taxes.

    Don't change the system and it's no deal.

    This is – by the way – the EXACT message that citizens sent in the 2002 Transportation Referenda in NoVA which did not have a list of projects that WOULD be built but instead a list of projects that COULD be built …"depending" on decisions made after the new money was available.

    I would submit that this aspect is central to the minds of the 80% who are opposed to higher gas taxes.

    It's not that they don't think we need improvements – it's that they KNOW that the increased taxes will disappear down a rat hole in Richmond and they will get back a piece of paper that "promises" future improvements – and they KNOW …FROM EXPERIENCE that that piece of paper is worthless and that at some point VDOT comes back and says they are out of money and they scratch those projects off..

    ..and then.. ask for more money to build that project…

    we have a corrupt system for road building folks… that goes way, way beyond Rays opinion that we should have an efficient system.

    My question is – what happens if you have a grossly inefficient system that runs out of money and wants more?

    What do you do then if they refuse to change the system but still want the money?

    And the correct answer is delivered by 80% of the people – "go fish".

  56. Anonymous Avatar

    "let's say Allied Chemical was allowed to pollute the James River for years and the govt unilaterally took the right to pollute away from everyone.

    "

    ==============================

    Now you are just being silly.

    From a practical standpoint, the way this usually works is that the government sets some new standard.

    The compnay already has a vested interest in the previous level of pollution control equipment, with an expectation of making certain profits. If you (gov't) simply declare one day that that equipment is no longer sufficient and demand all new stuff, then you must have some reason for doing so.

    You would be complicit in making their previous investment obsolete and you would have some responsibility for ameliorating tht loss.

    And so what happens is, like with auto emission requirements, you set a new standard but it is not implemented for 10 or 20 years, which means the compnay has written down the equipment costs anyway.

    In the end those costs are absorbed by the customers through higher prices to cover the cost of pollution and pollution control equipment.

    Which brings you back to why the government imposed the new higher restrictions in the first place. usually this is to increase life expectancy and reduce morbidity. As a government you keep your citizens a live and healthy longer and they pay more taxes. You take part of that extra money you plan on getting and use it in various ways to compensate the plant owner for absorbing the costs that allow you to make those gains.

    RH

  57. Groveton Avatar

    Here is why the transportation policy in Virginia will change.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/01/baltimore_sun_declares_war_on.html

    Other localities (with better legislatures than Virginia – pretty much every other state) will make the hopeless and chaotic mismanagement of transportation in Virginia a jobs issue.

    Don't move your company to Virginia. Your employees will spend all day sitting in traffic.

    There won't be 30,000 new jobs for our Chief Jobs Officer (or whatever silly name he calls himself) – Bill Bolling.

    The historical incompetence of the Virginia General Assembly is coming home to roost.

    Also, LarryG, the same intransigence seems to apply to your beloved federal health care reform:

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/SENA02_20100201-210806/321602/

    Looks like the boys in Richmond have been watching reruns of The Waltons and getting nostalgic. Unfortunately, I doubt the legislators ever read the book that (sort of) forms the basis for the TV show – Spenser's Mountain. The book was set in the fictional town of New Dominion, VA and included a whole lot more unsavory behavior then ever made it to the TV screen.

    Keep encouraging the state to move backwards Larry. We can "catch up" with West Virginia if we really try.

  58. the govt is ALWAYS setting new standards – thousands of them over the years…

    and in your advocacy – you make a general claim that when "rights" are taken away – compensation is owed.

    are you now going to cherry-pick which of those rights should be compensated?

    why?

  59. Anonymous Avatar

    "The Virginia Constitution REQUIRES that all necessary monies be dedicated to maintenance (and operations) BEFORE anything left over can be used for new construction."

    ———————————-

    Why is that a Constitutional issue?

    That sounds like an accounting philosophy more than a basic foundation for our system of law.

  60. Virginia's transportation system – by the way – is rated among the best in the country.

    you sound like a developer Groveton…

    "oh our gridlock will destroy business so we must raise taxes to "save our jobs"

    what a crock.

    you think Maryland's side of the beltway is better than NoVa?

    It's not.. it's actually way worse..

  61. with respect to the Health care vote – what a bunch of tea-party bowing hypocrites.

    If they REALLY stood on PRINCIPAL – they would be like Dick Armey and Ron Paul and be opposed to ALL govt-entitlements – existing and proposed – on that same basis instead of playing cherry-picking games.

    more hypocrisy from those who really don't have principals.

    I respect Dick Armey and Ron Paul even though I don't agree with their position but those who play partisan games and have no principals.. well what can I say?

  62. Anonymous Avatar

    "and in your advocacy – you make a general claim that when "rights" are taken away – compensation is owed.

    are you now going to cherry-pick which of those rights should be compensated?"

    ——————————-

    Who is cherry picking?

    You are correct: my GENERAL claim is that anytime the government reduces the value of property for a government purpose some compensation needs to be made.

    This claim is based on the spirit of the law as addressed in the constitution. I beleive we have rationalized our way into all kinds of modifications to the law, to the point that much of what we are doing is cycnical, unethical, probably unonstitutional, and certainly ounterproductive. At the very least we are not follwing the spirit of what as intended by the founding fathers.

    That is part one of my claim or advocacy as you call it.

    Part two is that we have a problem with this for two reasons. We have not ever made a good or complete list of what constitutes property. Property is anything that you can own, trade, and exclude others from using. Without an accepted list of what is property government is in a bad position as far as protecting property goes.

    Some people have made a fetish out of externalities, because by inventing a new externality, they can invent hypothetical costs which represent property, and then use the Golden Rule to say – hey you don;t ahve any right to mess with my (newly invented) property.

    And they do this without any respect for prevously accepted property, which amounts to stealing.

    Your problem is that you are hung up on the idea that no one should pollute, and no one should be paid to stop polluting.

    I get it. I used to think that way, too, but after long consideration I concluded that it was a wrong and wasteful way to consider the problem. it is confusing to think that the least costly pollution is not zero pollution.

    The problem is NOT how to each the absolute minimum in pollution and live in the most pristine environment, no matter what the financial and ethical cost. Cave men lived like that, and I don't think we want to go there.

    The problem is how can the most people live as best they can, in peace, at the lowest cost in effort, money, and other resources. In order to do tht we are going ot have to consider and make some very large and complex trade offs.

    Just because they are large and complex and even nebulous does not mean that they are impossible or that we should not even try.

    We are not going to get it perfect, which is your point when youay reasonable people can disagree about price and value.

    Stanton Scott pretty much nailed it when he said:

    "Whether or not this process actually treats everyone fairly in the end makes no difference. The best we can do is continue working to find a useful hybrid of free markets and government which generates fair outcomes most of the time."

    All I would say is that it Does make a difference when someone is treated unfairly. It took Dorothy English 30 years to win her case in Oregon and then she died. After she died the state STILL tried to renege on the settlement, saying that since shw was dead the argument was moot.

    It took Lucas in South carolina decades to get his compensation.

    Is this really how we want to treat each other?

    The best we can do is continue working to find a useful hybrid of free markets and government, and hee is whre I see our great failing.

    There is no Test and Review cycle.

    We claim or invent some public benefit as a reason for some policy, pass the policy and seldom look back.

    We don't really know what the reults of our efforts have been, which allows people like Larry to ask, cynically, where is the money coming from?

    We can do a lot better, and a lot more, and waste a lot less, if we know what our costs are and our benefits are. But that means we have to undersand what property is and protect it uniformly.

    There is no point in making a bunch of benefits in a society that thinks it is OK to steal them.

    RH

  63. so … EVERY TIME a law is passed restricting something that was previously allowed is a "taking" that has to be compensated even though it applies to everyone equally?

    and where would the compensation money come from?

  64. I don't think it is "cynical" to ask where the money comes from.

    It's a very practical question and it needs an honest answer.

  65. Well.. speaking of "Great Minds":

    " Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be “democracy’s next step”: It is running for Congress."

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/corporation-says-it-will-run-for-congress/

  66. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Great minds? What?

    Peter Galuszka

  67. Anonymous Avatar

    today's paper has a story about someone who went back and did a study on the efficacy of some policy. I'm all in favor of that sort of thing, so we can find out if the money we are spending on our social and poltical theories is working for us.

    "Abstinence Based Sex Education Might Actually Work", reads the headline.

    Then when you get farther into the story you find that "only one third of sixth and seventh graders have sex within two years of taking the abstinence course."
    [paraphrased]

    Well gee. I'm glad it works for sixth graders.

    RH

  68. should be a 'simple' cost-benefit study right?

    you just total up the costs for abstinence education and then total up the costs for …. what?

  69. Anonymous Avatar

    I don't think it is "cynical" to ask where the money comes from.

    ——————————–

    It is cynical to ask the question of where the money comes from if you are opposed to the idea of fair compensation to begin with.

    Look. It used to be that a farmer would harvest his fields and if the yield fell below some minimum then he wknew that it would be cost effective to add nutrients for next year, and he would fertlize the fields.

    But now he has a yield monitor that tells him how much and WHERE his field is producing. And with GPS he can fertilize only the low yielding areas and get maximum return on his investment dollar.

    THAT is where the money comes from. So you have some policy (fertilization) which is supposed to increase yield (public benefit).
    You NEITHER want to waste money on un-needed policy (fertilizer), nor do you want to waste money by putting policy (fertilizer) in the wrong place, nor do you want to waste money by not fertilizing and foregoing the yield.

    The whole idea for the policy to begin with is to increase yield(public benefit), so you take the money for pay for the policy out of the increased yield. This acts as a test or protection mechanism to make sure that you are not paying more for the policy (fertilizer) than what you get back out of it in yield.

    Now, you might have some salesman (activist) telling you, look what we did. We put down 50lb of nitrogen and things are a lot better; lets put down 500 lbs this year and we can really get green.

    Except you know that your fields are not getting ten time bigger and there is only so much benefit you can economically achieve.

    Or you might have another activist saying you should not have any policy (fertilizer). You shold let things grow in their wild west natural state. This is the Repulican or Conservative view of government policy, but if you accept that idea, then you will reduce expenditures, but you should expect lower yields, more pests, and greater sudden losses.

    The short answer is that the money come from the gains you make, and there are no real gains made by stealing.

    RH

  70. " It is cynical to ask the question of where the money comes from if you are opposed to the idea of fair compensation to begin with."

    not if that is one of the key reasons why you oppose it.

    dumb ideas are dumb ideas.

    you have a very dumb idea with absolutely no idea of how you'd pay …

    you just think they are owed money and you want someone to pay.

    I oppose dumb ideas that have no practical answers.

    the world is full of inequities but you cannot fix them with dumb ideas.

    according to you – we owe everyone today – "compensation" because they no longer can own slaves – a "right" the govt took away – a "taking" that must be compensated.

    dumb idea? no, worse. NUTTY.

  71. Anonymous Avatar

    you have a very dumb idea with absolutely no idea of how you'd pay …

    ============================

    Well it is a dumb idea that does work in actual practice and it is in use today.

    Here is what I know for certain. You will pay, one ay or another. Just because you don't get a bill in the mail does not mean that you won't pay. This is the WHOLE IDEA behind externalities which are a foudational idea within the conservation movement. It is also the whole idea behind all of Sytems Engineering: you,will,pay – you,will,trade,off.

    Only in politics is this considered a dumb idea.

    YOU are the one who does not know how they will pay, and YOU are the one who refused to even look and find out.

    My big dumb idea is that if you want expansion you plan to pay for it out of profits, and maybe you even have to borrow a little up front.

    That is an idea that seems to have worked for centuries.

    The other way to get more of wha you want (expand your policy) is to take it from Poland and call it liebensraum.

    RH

  72. Anonymous Avatar

    "the world is full of inequities but you cannot fix them with dumb ideas."

    The world is full of inequities but you cannot fix them if you think you have superior rights, higher moral ground, and mob rule behind you.

    For starters, you have to want to fix inequites, and then you need to be able to recognize one when it isn't your own.

    THEN you can start having some eter ideas on how to go about it.

    RH

  73. well no.. you've not addressed the slave question.

    Do you believe that people who had the right to own slaves taken away should be compensated because the govt took that right away?

    no weaseling..

  74. Groveton Avatar

    "The Virginia Constitution REQUIRES that all necessary monies be dedicated to maintenance (and operations) BEFORE anything left over can be used for new construction."

    Just another way of subsidizing economic failure. There are many places in Virginia where the economic base cannot support the population. Typically, these areas were once industrial towns and cities with a decent economic base. Roads, and other infrastruture, were built in these areas with money from taxpayers around the state.

    Then, the jobs started to leave. Textile mills closed, factories went to Mexico, etc. Normally, this would create a situation where the people in those areas would relocate to new areas in search of economic opportunity. This is painful for families but has been a part of American life since our forefathers came to America from all around the world. From Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath to modern day Detroit, Americans have enjoyed the freedom of movement that allows the pursuit of economic opportunity. Northern Virginia has a well earned reputation for a high percentage of newcomers in the area. The newcomers came for the jobs. That's how life works.

    But not in much of Virginia.

    In Virginia there is an economically dysfunctional philosophy. The philosophy holds that people should never have to leave their hometowns regardless of the level of economic opportunity in those hometowns. If there is too little money to pay for government services then the money needs to be imported from elsewehere in the state.

    Normally, a deterioration of government services is one of the factors that prompts people to move from an area of limited economic opportunity to an area of enhanced economic opportunity. If the Commonwealth of Virginia spread the gas tax over maintenance and construction there would be less money for maintenance (vs spending only on maintenance). Since the economically challenged areas have more roads than necessary (given the economic challenges and lack of growth) they are benefited by any policy which puts maintenance ahead of construction. Of course, this has two negative consequences. First, it retards the ability of the state to attract jobs to the areas which are growing. Companies assess the quality of life for their employees and broken transportation systems are a disincentive to relcoating to places where the system is broken. Second, it postpones the inevitable need to relcoate people from places where economic opportunity is shrinking to places where it is growing. In the end, this postponement doesn't really help anybody – not the people in the economically challenged areas, not the people in the growth areas, not the people in-between.

    However, Virginia is nothing if not stupidly stubborn. From over farming tobacco to housing the capital of an immoral and failed confereracy to massive resistance to refusing to confront today's ecomomic reality Virginia has proven itself inept in most regards. This constitutional provision is only one more manifestation of that ineptitude.

  75. Groveton – maintenance pays for EXISTING infrastructure and if it is not used much anymore.. it doesn't cost much.

    Most of the rural roads are not only old but not in particularly good condition either compared to the urbanized regions infrastructure which is heavily and intensively used and requires frequent maintenance.

    But just what you do with folks who are 40-50 …lost their jobs.. and have a 1950 era education – ANYHOW?

    Do you want to take the Republican approach and hope that they just die quickly?

    Exactly what would be YOUR PLAN to deal with this if not the above?

    If there are no jobs in these regions what exactly would you be "retraining" them to do ?

  76. Groveton Avatar

    Nobody in America ever had the right to own a slave. Quite the opposite. Slavery was always contrary to the principles upon which America was founded. However, led by places like Virginia, some areas in the United States ignored the principles of freedom and liberty and condoned the obviously immoral practice of owning slaves. When this wrong was righted (afer far too long) there was no basis for the recompense of the evildoers. The slaveowners were lucky not be killed by the righteously indignant former slaves or imprisoned by the long suffering Union forces who had to watch their comrades give their lives to end the abomination of slavery.

  77. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Groveton, You are absolutely right about the phenomenon of Virginia's wealthy regions subsidizing its poor, rural regions. As you are acutely aware, education spending is the most egregious example. However, this is not a phenomenon unique to Virginia. It occurs in every state where rural areas still hold some political sway in the state legislature — and where urban/suburban liberals are all too eager to redistribute the wealth from the "rich" to the "poor."

    I would suggest to you that the idea of switching to a VMD tax for the sole purpose of maintaining existing roads would lead to less wealth redistribution from wealthy regions to poor regions than other schemes for raising transportation funds. At least NoVa would not be subsidizing new construction outside the region.

  78. re: state subsidies

    Bacon is right. Every state has some version of an equal access to education policy – designed explicitly to provide opportunity to kids regardless of their economic or parental circumstances.

    Is this socialism? You bet it is.

    What would happen if we stopped providing education in this way?

    We already know.. just look at pre-America Europe.

    What happens to kids who do not get educated?

    They die from hunger and disease like they do in 3rd world countries.

    We are such Wooses.

    We can't bring ourselves to watch kids in SW Va live this way.. so we relent.. and decide to "help" ..like I said we are real wooses on this.

    Of course, in those circumstances, it's highly possible that neither Groveton nor Bacon would have received a "free" education and who knows how they would have turned out.

    All I can say.. is that if you are opposed to "socialism" – STAND UP and be counted and stop sneaking in and out of the closet!

  79. Groveton Avatar

    "I would suggest to you that the idea of switching to a VMD tax for the sole purpose of maintaining existing roads would lead to less wealth redistribution from wealthy regions to poor regions than other schemes for raising transportation funds. At least NoVa would not be subsidizing new construction outside the region.".

    I agree completely. That's why I strongly support the VMD approach.

  80. who would collect that money (and how) and would it just go into a single state fund?

    who would administer it and decide how to allocate it?

    are ya'll sure ya'll like this idea?

    how would this method differ from the current method especially with regard to NoVa money?

  81. Groveton Avatar

    "It occurs in every state where rural areas still hold some political sway in the state legislature — and where urban/suburban liberals are all too eager to redistribute the wealth from the "rich" to the "poor."

    Correct again. It has nothing to do with court orders or fairness – it's all about political power. I personally believe that the census and redistricting will do much to change the political power in Virginia. I also believe that brewing budget fiasco in the state will do much to dampen the socialist tendencies in the suburban and urban areas.

    I struggle to see how many areas in Virginia can economically survive at their present population levels. Other states like New York and Tennessee seem to be dealing with the shift to a more urban state more effectively than Virginia.

  82. "how would this method differ from the current method especially with regard to NoVa money?"

    I agree.

    You can collect the tax any way you want…..if all the money goes to Richmond to be "distributed" then I don't see what good it does.

    Does any other state have a VMD tax?

    If this type of thing passes you better expect every back road, dirt road, side street, etc., to be used MORE because people will start taking shortcuts to get places…..that's the first thing I would do.

    Interstates and primary roads typically are NOT the shortest way to get places in terms of total miles….they are the shortest because of the speeds you can travel.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  83. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton claims that noone had the right to own slaves because it was always contrary to American priciples.

    If by having the right, you mean is it ethically acceptable, then no.

    But my recollection is that slavery started out as indentured servitude, and as conditions in England deteriorated people were more desperate to get out and the period of indenture became longer and longer.

    Eventually it became permanent, and finally a law was passed making the children of indentured servants also indentured, and thus slavery was legally born.

    Under the law, people did have the right to own slaves, and even some black people owned slaves.

    But all of this goes back to part two of my arguyment which is that we do not have enough property rights and they are not clearly defined.

    Whatever the case was, government stood by and allowed slavery to occur, and so it was tacitly complicit in the transactions. In the same way the county records the sale of property in certain zoning areas,so the county is a party to the transaction: the sale price is partly dependent on the zoning. The sale price for slaves depended on the government acquiescence in the sale as well as the governments actionin protecting (returning) the slaveowners property.

    At some point the government decided it had made an error in zoning and slaves, and that the populace would be better off with a different system.

    Whether it was zoning or slaves, the government encouraged certainkinds of investments and then changed the rules. If a public benefit ensued, then thereis no reason not to make compenation in either case: compensation comes out of new money, and therefore does't cost anyone something they would not have have lost anyway.

    When colonial slavery was abolished in 1833 the British government paid £20 million to slave-owners as compensation: the enslaved received nothing. There was in fact a royal commission on compensation to slave owners.

    There were large numbers of British citizens who were absentee slave owners: speculators, if you will.

    "In the fall of 1861, Lincoln composed an experimental emancipation plan for the state of Delaware (one of those four border states). Under Lincoln’s proposal, the Delaware legislature would pass a bill, immediately freeing all Delaware slaves over the age of thirty-five and gradually freeing all others when they reached that age; in return, Congress would pay the state of Delaware just over $700,000 in United States bonds, which would then be used by the Delaware legislature to finance compensation for Delaware slave owners who would lose their slave “property” to emancipation. Under an optional accelerated timetable, slavery in Delaware could have been extinguished as early as 1872.

    A buy-out is not as dramatic as a proclamation, but the end result would have been the same, and Lincoln had good reason for thinking that this plan was, in fact, the best way to make the extinction of slavery legally permanent."

    Allen Guelzo
    Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and
    Professor of History, Gettysburg College

    RH

  84. Anonymous Avatar

    " maintenance pays for EXISTING infrastructure and if it is not used much anymore.. it doesn't cost much."

    Nonsense. That stuff falls apart even if it isn't used. We don;t often let a little used paved road decompose back to gravel.

    RH

  85. Anonymous Avatar

    Since when did subsidies equate to socialism?

    Subsidies are a uniquely capitalistic invention, and a good one for the intended purpose. It is only that socialist regimes using the tool extremely badly have given it a bad name.

    RH

  86. Anonymous Avatar

    who would administer it and decide how to allocate it?

    Classic problem solving methods would require that you solve this before you collect a dime.

    Define the problem.

    Decompose it into workable pieces.

    Set the tests and criteria which prove the problem is solved.

    Postulate as many potential solutions as feasible for each of the decomposed parts.

    Perform trade studies to determine which collection of solutions solves the SYSTEM level problem at the lowest cost, including externalities, life cycle costs, (and compensation, if required).

    Set a schedule consistent with the work to be accomplished and the monies likely to be available.

    THEN go raise the money and perform the tasks.

    Periodically revisit the tests and criteria to see if the proble stays solved.

    The way you guys go about "solving problems" (which is mostly complaining about them) is like trying to assemble a table size jisaw puzzle by looking at each part under a microscope.

    RH

  87. Anonymous Avatar

    "Interstates and primary roads typically are NOT the shortest way to get places in terms of total miles….they are the shortest because of the speeds you can travel."

    Good one RBV.

    When I go to the Airport I can either take the back roads and Rte fifty or 66 and then 28.

    Taking Rte 66 is longer faster safer, more comfortable and burns more fuel.

    Using Rte fifty with its green initiatives and traffic calming is shorter, more dangerous, more difficult to drive, harder on the car (and me) and uses less fuel.

    However, careful analysis of my MPG computer reveals that the area of the three traffic circles rquire 20% more fuel than the equivalent adjacent stretches of roadway. I attribute this to the small size of the traffic circles and the uneccessay chicanes that were built in before and after each one.

    If traffic flow is the ONLY criteria for testing this "solution" then the circles are an improvement. It will be interesting to see what the accident history turns out to be.

    If the criteria for the Middleburg crowd was to divert traffic to 66 and burn more fuel, than thcircles are a success.

    But if the goal was to generat the maximum benefit at lowest cost, the circles are a failure.

    RH

  88. Anonymous Avatar

    You know anyone alive today that had slaves taken away? Who has taken a slave loss that needs compensation?

    Now, are there daughters of Pocahontas who are still wealthy today, partly because their ancestors owned slaves? Should they be required to contribute a little more to solving todays problems?

    How about those who are descendents of the slaves? Even as far aa we are from the Emancipation Proclamation we can still see some lingering effects.

    As a society we are better off without slavery. But government, through its actions, created winners and losers, before during and after abolition.

    Governments primary obligation is to protect people and their property, and particularly from avaricious government action.

    Mob rule cannot do that. Such protection and values have to be built in to the fundamental checks and balances, and the fundamental documents and procedures of our government, precisely where it is most difficult for "Democracy" to screw itself up.

    Clearly with enough time you get so far into the mud that there is little hope of reasonably separating the winners fromthe losers. In Oregon, their compensation law was based on a twenty-five year history or ownership by a single family, whichever was greater.

    If you bought a property 26 years ago that was restricted by some rule 50 years ago, you were out of luck. But the far more common situation was that you bought a place 26 yeaqrs ago and apile of new restriction got slapped on ten years ago – just before you planned to retire to your (as yet unbuilt) cabin in the woods.

    Your question about how should we compensate people today for not being able to own slaves is silly, but we can still see vestiges of results that occurred because government did not protect everyone and their property equally before, during, and after the transition.

    If I buy into a neighborhood knowing it has a HOA affiliated with the American Nazi Party and strict zoning codes then I have no basis for complaint when thos restrictions smack me in the face: I paid for them and they are part and parcel of my property.

    If I arrive in Virginia a long time after slavery was abolished, I really have very little complaint that I am diadvantaged compared to my peers.

    But if I move into the homeowners association neighborhood and then they tell me that as a new guy on the block they are charging me an intiation fee because I'm suddenly causing an increase in HOA infrastructure costs, then I'm likely to believe that those Sons of Pocahontas are taking unfair advantage over a precious condition.

    RH

  89. Groveton Avatar

    The article written by Jim Bacon is about transportation costs and a new, possibly more effective way to charge for those costs. Jim's proposal has many merits. However, one major problem is the systematic dishonesty of Virginia's General Assembly and Governor. For years I have argued that Virginia needs a much stronger form of home rule whereby localities would be guaranteed the right to manage some of their own affairs without intereference from the clown show in Richmond. Alternately called a dillution of Dillon's Rule, this approach would be implemented through changes to Virginia's constitution which would forbid the clown show in Richmond from arbitrarily and randomly changing the rules of the game. Recently, we have seen the clown show in action. The Local Composite Index is a formula for taking money from one area in Virginia and transferring it to another area. The fact that this process subsidizes the location variable costs of those who refuse to relocate to find work will be left for another editorial. For now, the important thing to remember is that the LCI formula was a promise made by the clown show to the residents of those localities where more money was paid in taxes for education than was spent for education. The promise always contained the provisio that the transfer could be reduced if economic conditions changed. Those economic conditions did change and Fairfax County should be keeping $61M more of its own money this year. What happened? The clown show, in the person of "the worst governor in Virginia history" – Tim Kaine – froze the funds. The reduction will not occur unless Gov. McDonnell reverses the worst governor in Virginia history and actually processes the LCI formula as promised.

    A decent explanation can be found here:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/02/fairfax_lawsuit_over_school_fu.html

    Now comes Jim Bacon with a plan for the state to collect Vehicle Miles Driven so that people can pay their own "location variable costs". In 45 of America's 50 states (states with developed home rule provisions in their constitution) this would be workable. However, in Virginia (governed by the clown show in Richmond) it is not. Although the plan has much merit there can be no confidence that the clown show will keep any promise to return the funds to the localities where the funds were raised. Hence, Mr Bacon's goal of having people pay for their location variable costs is defeated by the historical and ongoing dishonesty of the clown show in Richmond.

  90. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – great post on the LCI freeze. Freezing the LCI is no more than cheating. You don't change the rules in the middle of the game. If Kaine had wanted to change the formula, he should have given notice and asked for citizen comments.

    The only good thing I've seen from this freeze is it has caused residents to get beyond their complacency and take action; local legislators to fight for Fairfax County instead of selling it down the river; and mobilized the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce to lobby for something other than Tysons Corner landowners. I think these developments are wonderful!

    Now all you need to do is get some more people and businesses to write McDonnell and oppose the freeze.

    It's time for Fairfax County to fight for itself.

    TMT

  91. I totally agree with the commentary on the LCI and I would have thought this travesty would have been right along with opening the rest areas – a done deal from the incoming Gov.

    but on the Home Rule / self determination question – NoVa already has – some self-funding options that they have not exercised.

    They do have the power to have referenda for example – if the issue really is that any kind of tax imposed would be collected by the state – the local referenda is an antidote.

    Two others I can think off right off the bat is road impact fees and a local income tax that NoVa is allowed – that many other counties are not.

    In the GA this year, there is an interesting bill:

    " Sales tax on motor fuels in Northern Virginia; increase in rate. Increases the rate of the state sales tax on motor fuels in Northern Virginia from 2.1 percent to 4.2 percent."

    HB269- Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria)

    My main point here is that the General Assembly has shown a willingness to provide NoVa (and urbanized areas) more taxing authority.

    but any statewide tax is going to have rough going AND it's got that big fatal flaw of going to Richmond first before it is distributed.

    So Groveton – IMHO – should forget the clown show and FOCUS on more realistic strategies of working to get more taxing authority for Fairax / NoVa – which is at least an important aspect of "Home" Rule.

    But methinks also.. when you look at the recent string of huge infrastructure projects that have been built NOT solely by NoVa funds – well don't position yourself as not wanting anything to do with the State – which plays a big role in determining where Federal money goes for things like WWB, Springfield and Metro which have been funded in large part by Federal money – allocated by Richmond/VDOT.

    With respect to "clown" shows though, it is interesting listening to TMT's commentary of how your own Fairfax officials seem to be more than willing to position you and TMT in the appropriate bend-over position for developers of Tysons.

    I've lived all over the US as a consequence of being a service brat but never was old enough or interested enough to pay much attention to governance except in Virginia so I really don't know how our "clown" show works comparatively but I will point out one final thing.

    And that is when you look at Dillon is centrally managed or not.

    And a good for instance is Maryland which has home rule but it is centrally managed which means that the state has a comp plan and the locality comp plan has to be consistent with the state plan and if you think about it – that could be as onerous or more so than the Dillon Rule.

    Florida is the same way.

    In closing, I recommend close reading of page 8 on this VDOT document:

    " OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE COORDINATION OF TRANSPORTATION
    AND LAND USE PLANNING IN VIRGINIA"

    http://goo.gl/FArY

    as it has one of the best comparative governance discussions as I have come across and worth pursuing.

    and I'm glad Groveton saw the error of his ways in supporting anything that leads to a new central fund administered by the State and I am hopeful that Bacon will also see the error of his ways.

  92. ….and I'm apoplectic to realize that all these years I had been thinking that those folks brough to America from Africa were not slaves at all but indentured servants.

    I had always thought that indentured servants came from Europe and were usually white.

    looks like we're all ignorant just on different subjects.

  93. Anonymous Avatar

    "….and I'm apoplectic to realize that all these years I had been thinking that those folks brough to America from Africa were not slaves at all but indentured servants."

    We are talking two different things here. Anyway I freely admit to being possibly wrong, my comments were recall from what I had taught and read. I didn't go back and research.

    The slave trade only began to really flourish after conditions improved in Europe and indentured servants became hard to come by.

    I think that "History of the James River" discusses a lot of this.

    RH

  94. Anonymous Avatar

    The promise always contained the provisio that the transfer could be reduced if economic conditions changed. Those economic conditions did change and Fairfax County should be keeping $61M more of its own money this year. What happened?

    =================================

    What happened is that you cannot trust the government not to steal from you. The Fauquier Website, for example, contains specific instructions to obtain a lawywer before conducting any county business.

    It is a sad state of affairs.

  95. okay, let's ignore the slave question and talk about indentured servants.

    If I understand you correctly, anyone who lives today that had a "right" removed is owed compensation.

    How far back does this go?

    are you saying that ANY right removed – no matter when requires compensation?

    what if EVERYONE has the same right removed? Who pays the compensation then?

    If we remove a right from everyone do we just pay each other compensation?

    just from a practical perspective how would you do this?

  96. Anonymous Avatar

    According to Wicki:

    Indentured servants could be bought ans sold, same as slaves (or baseball players today?) And in other respects their treatmnt was not so different. they could not marry without permission of their owners, and physical abuse was common.

    "There was a continuum between the designations "free" and "unfree" in the colonial period. In this sense, the development of racial thinking to separate and privilege the mainly white laborers from black slaves solidified the institution of slavery even as it opened, at least in name, opportunities for lower-class whites. Ultimately, slavery persisted until 1865 in the South, but indentured servitude did not."

    There were even "slave raids" in Europe. "During the 1600s, many Irish were also kidnapped and taken to Barbados. In 1643, there were 37,200 whites in Barbados (86% of the population).[20] Many indentured servants were captured by the English during Cromwell’s expeditions to Ireland and Scotland, who were forcibly brought over between 1649 and 1655."

    "After 1660, the Caribbean saw fewer indentured servants coming over from Europe. On most of the islands African slaves now did all the hard fieldwork. Newly freed servant farmers that were given a few acres of land would not be able to make a living because sugar plantations had to be spread over hundreds of acres in order to be profitable. The landowners’ reputation as cruel masters in dealing with the large slave populations became a deterrence to the potential indentured servant.

    When slavery ended in the British Empire in 1833, plantation owners again turned to indentured servitude for inexpensive labor. These servants emigrated from a variety of places, including China and Portugal, though the majority came from India."

    ===============================

    All of this is a sideshow to the point in question. Government makes rules that affect investments and the flow of cash and trade, as Groveton notes here in Virginia.

    Even with Mob rule an honorable mob ought to keep its promises, and a fundamenal promise of govenment is to protect people and property.

    The time comes when changes need to be made and when those changes cause eregious losses they should be compensated. The claim is often made that the changes are justified by some public benefit, when in fact it is to change the benefit from one mob to another.

    The way to ensure that you ONLY make chages that result in a true public benefit is to require compensation, and require it steadfastly and uniformly.

    It turns out this is also the cheapest and most efficient way to go about major changes.

    Anyway, if it was good enough for Lincoln, it works for me.

    RH

  97. you did not answer the question about taking slave/indentured servant-owning "rights" away and compensating those who don't have those rights.

    If my great-great grandfather had the right to own a slave and I do not – then am I owed compensation?

  98. Anonymous Avatar

    If I understand you correctly, anyone who lives today that had a "right" removed is owed compensation.

    How far back does this go?

    —————————–

    I do not know. If you accept the concept of compensation, then how far back you go is one of those issues that has to be resolved when we write the procedures and regulations that require and enforce proper compensation.

    First you have to accept the concept of compensation, then you work on the rules for what is fair and equitable.

    My guess is that it has something to do with magnitude and transaction costs. If it costs you more to figure out what is owed than the amount owed, then there is no public benefit to doing the work and no "yield" to pay the expenses from.

    For social systems we usually start with three degrees of freedom: after that the results are usually small. For example, we figure the effect of a new buisness in a community is three to seven times its gross revenue.

    So a policy directly affects the money that A Has and he does business with a bunch of B's and each of them does buisiness with reveal C's.

    I Oregon land use rules they basically went back 25 years. But incases of American Indian, New Zealand Ouri's, and Australian Aboriginese compensation might go back much farther.

    The problem is that you have no NORMS yet because compensation is rare. Over time I think you build up some case law that other people thught was fair, and work from there.

    But notice this: had compensation been universally applied in the first place, then how far back to go would not be an issue.

    Obviously if everone owes everbody else a penny for a grievance that dats back a thoussand years then the practical aspects of a good concept don't make much sense.

    RH

  99. I don't think you even talk about compensation until you decide what things are compensatable.

    and I gave you a good start.

    Owning a slave is clearly an economic right and that right was taken away.

    Now I'm asking you of the total bundle of sticks of which this certainly ought to qualify – which ones are NOT ones that we should compensate and why.

    In other words, what criteria do we use to separate out the things that potentially are compensateable and which one are clearly not.

    We do not "talk" compensation at all until we know what we will consider compensating and that's the question you've been asked all along.. and your answer so far is a whole lot of hand-waving and not much else.

    so – do we compensate the folks who no longer are allowed to own a slave – and why?

  100. YO GROVETON!

    re: Home Rule/Dillons Rule et al

    "Is Home Rule The Answer? Clarifying The Influence Of Dillon's Rule On Growth Management"

    http://goo.gl/LpXn

  101. Anonymous Avatar

    "I don't think you even talk about compensation until you decide what things are compensatable."

    I agree in the sense that we have not done a good job of defining what is property. Loss of any property due to government action ought to be compensatable.

    If you have property and government takes it away, ostensibly for a better public purpose, then they owe you for it. No ifs and or buts. If I lose my magazine company to eminent domain and I deserve compensation. It does not matter that the magazine was porn.

    Your position is that if property should not have been owned in the first place then it is not compensatable. You simply declare ex post facto that there never was any right to lose. But this position is exactly equivalent to inventing a new property right where none existed before: which is indistinguishable from stealing.

    It is like declaring the KELO neighborhood blighted, just so you don't have to pay what it was actualy worth.

    We have strayed a long way from tolling roads by the mile as the topic here. The fact remains that

    A)government has no business doing things that harm its citizens.

    B) If it is doing something that is good for most citizens then they should have no reason to complain about compensation to those that made outsize sacrifices.

    C)It needs to be done in a timely manner because citizens are mortal and government is not. In Oregon it took Dorothy English 30 years to win her case over the government: then she died. The government still cannot concede they lost this battle, and now they are trying to rob her grave.

    The idea of tolling roads by the mile fails test A) AND test B). it is just another example of mob rule fleecing a minority. In this case the minority happens to be rich.

    RH

  102. I'm saying this.

    If you find out that a chemical is much more deadly than first thought and you outlaw it and it is outlawed for everyone – you don't owe anyone who used to have that right any compensation.

    To a bigger picture, there are "rights" that can be lost than will not require compensation.

    You have to define a criteria with respect to this BEFORE you can talk about the even harder concept of deciding the value of it.

  103. Anonymous Avatar

    "If you find out that a chemical is much more deadly than first thought and you outlaw it and it is outlawed for everyone – you don't owe anyone who used to have that right any compensation."

    I understand the sentiment, but it is the wrong way to think.

    Government was a patner in encouraging that company to be in business, and encouraged the company to make investments, and happily collected taxes and other benefits from that company.

    Later, we as a society learnthat we would be better off doing things differently. We can either do that the most eficient and cheapest, and most coperative way or we can shutter the plant, it willgo bankrupt and stand there, presumed to be a toxic, poisnous blight for 20 years, or more.

    I worked on places 40 yeas ago that STILL have not been cleaned up, beause someone thought that blame was bettter tahn action.

    The fact tath it is outlawed for everyone is just as cynical as saying that new setbacks apply to everyone. The fact remains that it does not AFFECT everyone. Everyone not involved gets a free (or appears to be free) benefit,and those who (were) out there doing the work according to the exising rules get hammered.

    You would not want to be treated that way so it is a violation of the Golden Rule. You are taking a right you would not be willing to give. Historically, what happens is that we DO gve some ind of compensation, and usually it is doen by offering time to adapt.

    Your sentiment, understandable as it is, is not only cynical and unhelpful, it is expensive, waseful, and not the commonly accepted practice.

    Even if you accept your argument, why ould you hold ONLY the manufacturor to account, and not the users? WE purchased and used the products that allowed him to become an environmentally evil criminal all of a sudden. Why should't we help make good on the problem?

    I build an airport. People build busineses and homes around the airport because of the service I provide. Then we learn that excess noise is bad for our health. Does that give us the right to destroy all the investment in the airport, without compensation?

    Of course not, it is ridiculous. You have set up a predetermined "master right" that trumps all others, which is inconsistent with the idea that my rights stop where yours start.

    Now, if I have an airport and double the size and frequncy of the airplane I fly in there, then the shoe is on the other foot.

    No one says that yu cannot chngethe rules when the changes make a better result. But if they make a better result then you sold have NO REASON (sentiment aside) for not being willing to assist in the costs of the changes.

    Except for one reason, and that is if you think it is OK to steal.

    RH

  104. Anonymous Avatar

    To a bigger picture, there are "rights" that can be lost than will not require compensation.

    ——————————–

    What bigger picture can there be than that the Constitution clearly says that property taken for public use must be compensated?

    The rights we are talking about are the right to live and earn a living, which boils down to the right ot have and use your property without having it stolen.

    No matter the "sentiments" or supposed moral standing of those doing the stealing.

    “Man has a primary property right to his person and his labor.”
    Sam Adams

    The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of Government was instituted. – James Madison

    Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist. – John Adams

    Now what liberty can there be where property is taken without consent? – Samuel Adams

    The Utopian schemes of re-distribution of the wealth…are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. – Samuel Adams

    The Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution. – Alexander Hamilton

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. – Thomas Jefferson

    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. – Thomas Jefferson

    ———————————

    The Constitution says you must pay compensation, and Decency says you must pay it in a timely manner.

    The problem with your position is exactly as Thomas jefferson said:

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have."

    I understand where you are coming from, really. I used to think the same way before I decided that I was wrong.

  105. the right to own a slave was a right taken away.

    Are you saying that everyone who had that right taken away are due compensation?

    stop straddling the fence here.

    Either admit that there are valid reasons for the State to take away a right and not have to compensate those who never exercise that right

    or not.

    I'm not talking about the guy who was "encourage" to produce a chemical.

    We're talking about all the other people who did not exercise that right then and right up until now.

    It was a right that the govt removed.

    Are you claiming that IN EVERY CASE … REGARDLESS that ANY TIME a right is taken – it is "stealing" if not compensated.

    stop weaseling and answer honestly yes or not.

  106. Anonymous Avatar

    the right to own a slave was a right taken away.

    And compensated for.

    Abraham Lincoln thought slave owners had the right to be compensated for their loss and so do I, for reasons I have fully explaned.

    Owning slaves was wrong, and government finally came to recognize that. Producing poinsonus chemicals s wrong, and when we discover it we stop or restrict the practice.

    But there is nothing in that train of thoght that suggests that ONLY the owner or producer shuold bear the costs, after the fact, of rectifying a mistake that was aided and abetted by the government and society at large.

    Sure, Rachel Carson and the Abolitionists can stand up afterwards and say "I told you so.", but that does nothing to pave the way forward and make such mistakes less expensive to fix next time.

    You are simply unable to separate two completeley separate ideas.

    There is no valid reason as far as I can see for the state to take or diminish anyones property of whatever kind on the pretense that it will somehow make society "better".

    ESPECIALLY if the argument is that it will make society better. Because that in itself suggests there should be plenty of resources to make the restitution with.

    The only reason remaining for being unwilling to make restitution is if your intention all along is to get something for nothing – steal it, in other words.

    And if ethics isn't a suffcient consideration for you,then consider this. You probably could have simply purchased every slave and set them free for a fraction of what the civil war cost.

    RH

  107. how about all the folks who did not own slaves then and all the years after that?

    compensated or not?

    stealing or not?

  108. Anonymous Avatar

    Nice Try.

    You capitulate on the basic question of compensation and then I'll tackle that one.

    RH

  109. Nice Try?

    I'm trying to get you to reveal YOUR VIEW on property rights.

    I've already told you mine.

    My view is you don't compensate at all except only the specific person exercising that right and no one else – period.

    And even that person is not compensated except under certain specific circumstances laid out in the law.

    As far as I know, not a single person has been compensated because they used to have the "right" to own a slave and it was taken away.

    and that's the way it should be so you got the answer to your compensation question but you knew that already, eh?

  110. Anonymous Avatar

    No, you are trying to lay a rather clumsy trap.

    My views on property rights are clear. You are the one with a murky agenda.

    You still think that

    "If you find out that a chemical is much more deadly than first thought and you outlaw it and it is outlawed for everyone – you don't owe anyone who used to have that right any compensation."

    Which makes absolutely no sense. It isn't even consistent with usual practice.

    So far all we have got out of you is that

    "My view is you don't compensate at all except only the specific person exercising that right and no one else – period.

    And even that person is not compensated except under certain specific circumstances laid out in the law."

    In other words mostly no compensation and then only if the mob has passed a rule agreeing to it.

    My position is that full fair and immediate compensation should be the rule rather than the exception, because it keeps the mob from being a mob.

    ——————————-

    Your second question is whether someone who had a right which was never exercised, no expense or investment was ever made, should be compensated for the loss of the right, same as for actual loss of property.

    We haven't agreed on the simpler first part of the question yet. And the answer to the second depends on the first.

    Give me a couple of examples where you think someone should be compensated.That way I can catcha weather gague on whot you consider to be a fair breeze.

    You think Lucas should have been compensated in South Carolina? You think he should have waited 16 years to collect is $2.5 million?

    What kind of "specific circumstances" should the law allow? Isn't a law of "specific circumstances" kind of an oxymoron? Or is this yet another call for some people to have superior rights over others?

    RH

  111. no murky agenda – crystal clear

    for the vast, vast majority – the 99 44/100% – NO COMPENSATION if there used to be a right and it was taken away and you never exercised it.

    That's CLEAR – how else can I make it more so?

    for the very small percentage of people who actually were exercising a right removed – ONLY in the cases were the law stated that the right was forever and could never be abridged, should compensation be possible.

    Te people today who never owned slaved are owed NO COMPENSATION because that "right" was removed.

    The people who never owned a 50 cal machine gun are hand-held stinger missile are NOT due ANY compensation because 25-50 years ago there was no law outlawing them.

    The people who never put now-outlawed pesticides on land are not due compensation because the right to do so was taken away.

    Wen the government makes a law that restricts a right – the primary rule that they have to follow – by the constitution – is that law must apply to everyone.

    Thus when a law is passed that restricts building on steep slopes – it applies to everyone – and no one who has not already built on a steep slope is compensated.

    The law is clear – and the Constitution is even more clear about what laws are 'legal'.

    I have been totally consistent in this position from the very beginning.

    I support the law and Constitution the way it was original written and has been practiced since then.

    I think the Constitution is an fair document in it's treatment of rights.

    I don't think the Constitution legalizes "stealing" and my position is not cynical at all as I simply do believe that the Constitution did allow restricting rights – as long as the restriction applied equally across the board.

    If the rule of law was that when a law was passed restricting right that did affect everyone – that compensation would be delivered to everyone – where would the money come from?

    Wouldn't you have to tax everyone to get the money for everyone?

    Would you just send a letter to everyone saying that we owe you X dollars but to pay you we'd have to raise your taxes X dollars so consider this a notice that your rights have been removed – your compensation is we did not raise your taxes to pay for it?

  112. Anonymous Avatar

    for the vast, vast majority – the 99 44/100% – NO COMPENSATION if there used to be a right and it was taken away and you never exercised it.

    I cannot agree.

    If you made a purchase, or an investment, pursuant to exercising a right that was advertised and supported by the government, then govenment owes you compensation as long as government claims a benefit for denying you that right now.

    In commercial law it is called suborning and it is against the law for a reason, government should not be above its own law.

    Anyway, that overs most of your argument, Is suspct thefailing is in the other 56/100th percent.

    You still have never explained WHY thee should be no compensation, especially when the claim is mad that the change is for the public good. NOT making the cpompensation is inefficeint as I have shown.

    Anyway, you are jumping ahead of the game. Do we agree that if there was some kind of investment in the "right" that compensation shoudl be made?

    You are still distinquishing beteen a right and property, whereas I think of them as the same thing. I can exclude people from my water rights or I can sell my water rights, which makes them indistinguishable from other property. My water rights are merely one of the bundle of sticks that come with my property, or not. Maybe they were sold previously.

    My brother had a piece of land that could have been subdivided into three lots whne he bought it. That POTENTIAL became part of the purchase price he paid.

    Later, the setback rules were changeed, and because of the SHAPE of his lot, not the size, he lost two potential building lots.

    In his neighborhood, thats a million dollars.

    Subsequently he bought additional land from two of his neighbors in such a way taht it did not affect THEIR future building rights, but he got his back.

    So the sitiuation on the grond is this: the county changed the setback rules ostensibly to get some public good (for run off, I suppose). Say there are ten total POTENTIAL lots involved between himself and his neighbors. In the end there will still be ten dwelling and the same space between the dwellings (which are all on heavily wooded lots to begin with). The county gained nothing in this instance. His neighbors got around 100,000 apiece, and they still have thier builiding lots, and he lost $200,000, plus costs.

    There used to be a right, which was taken away, and then he had to pay AGAIN to exercise it.

    Your comment in the string above is that the standard for government regulation ought to be that innocent people don't get hurt. What better way than to simply demand and expect compensation?

    At the time of his original purchase the county PARTICIPATED in that sale, by recording the deed and simultaneously publishing the zoning ordinance that controlled the deed.

    Remember, that uner the 1920 ruling, zoning was held consitituionla because it ALLOWED FOR ADVANCE PLANNING.

    And yet, by changing the setback regulation, the county was not only refusing to protect my brother's property, it was actively engaged in stealing it and handing value to his neighbors. It did so by violating the basic precept that made zoning legal in the first place.

    Please explain why you think he should not have been compensated.

    The only reason I can figure is that you are arfraid that the county (maeaning you,the taxpayer) might have to be resposnible for damage it does to others (on your behalf).

    And yet you claim that no one should be allowed to cause damage to you or your property.

    RH

  113. well we ALREADY KNOW you don't agree.

    there is a difference between the govt undermining an existing business but there is NO consideration for rights not exercised that are removed over time according to our laws and the constitution that DOES ALLOW such restrictions – WITHOUT COMPENSATION.

    My great-granddad may have had a right to own a slave but he was not compensated when that right was removed and I am not owed compensation either for the removal of that right.

    NOT TO YOUR CREDIT.

    you do not address this.

    the plain fact is that we do not compensate people for rights that used to exist and were taken away.

    we do not believe they are entitled to compensation either so the discussion about how much is completely moot and irrelevant.

    the removal of these rights is not considered damage unless you can prove it and it's very hard to prove something that you never exercised – had value.

  114. Anonymous Avatar

    I have outlined a simple philosophy to build a rule of law and ethics on. First, it starts with idea that you have a right to live.

    By extension, you have a right to earn a living and keep what you earn, "your property" be it as simple as a bowl of rice.

    No absolute can live by itelfe, youcannot have absolute zero, and by direct physical extension throughout the universe you cannot have absolute anything else either.

    Therefor the right, even to live, must be modified, and we call that modification the "Golden Rule" don;t expect someon else to let you live unless you are willing to let them live.

    What distinguishes us from wild animals is that even they recognize they have to do something for a living, but they are not hampered by this live and let live crap.

    Now you, as my neighbor have no right to absolute control over the resources, otherwise I cannot live.
    And vice versa.

    By being bigger and stronger and faster and smarter and working harder, longer, and more efficiently, you may live better than I do. But you still have no right to diminish MY share of the resources. In particular not the ones I created or purchased with my labor. No mob rule. No changing the rules of purchase afterwords.

    That's it. Two simple postulates, theorems or rules that you can build all of civilization on top of. All fo the Commandments, Ehortations, Scriptures and laws that have endured are built on these two, as far as I can tell.

    Look at the quotes from the Founding Fathers above: they are based on protecting property and life. Even to owning arms if necessary.

    Now explain to me how you get from those two rules (The right to live and the reqirement to let live) to "The mob can make any rules it likes to damage you without compensation."

    RH

  115. Anonymous Avatar

    and the constitution that DOES ALLOW such restrictions – WITHOUT COMPENSATION.

    No it does not. Show me.

    RH

  116. Anonymous Avatar

    difference between the govt undermining an existing business but there is NO consideration for rights not exercised

    ================================

    You don't understand that opportunity cost is a real cost.

    Go look it up. Start with the IRS code.

    RH

  117. Anonymous Avatar

    Expires over time.

    Fine. Lets make all zoning changes
    effective a minimum of ten years from when enacted.

    I could live with that.

    RH

  118. re: " I have outlined a simple philosophy to build a rule of law and ethics on"

    in your view

    I don't agree with you and neither does our current Constitution and Laws.

    If you disagree with them, we have several ways for you to seek change and relief.

    that's about it.

    but I would not call the "right" to own a slave the "golden rule" even though plenty of white slave owners would attend church on Sunday and profess beliefs to that effect/

  119. Anonymous Avatar

    as long as the restriction applied equally across the board.

    But your idea of applying the restriction across the board is cynical. The question is whether the EFFECTS of the restriction apply equally. And all of you examples ignore the real, painful pout of pocket effects.

    By your own sttement the golden rule of regulation is to prevent harm to innocents. My brother was an innocent.

    RH

  120. Anonymous Avatar

    Thus when a law is passed that restricts building on steep slopes – it applies to everyone – and no one who has not already built on a steep slope is compensated.

    And why not, if there are easy remedies that cost no one anything?

    Besides, you are wrong. Some communities are much more enlightened, when they reduce densiyt one way, the compensate for it another, to minimize the losses. That is a form of compensation.

    If I live in your county, I'm screwed, but if I live in a county governed by normal people, no harm done either way – we both win.

    What youare saying is that you think it is right for the county to be a cheapskate and skinflint to the point of harming its own citizens. What the hell, you've got your street and your home.

    RH

  121. "You don't understand that opportunity cost is a real cost."

    your "opportunity" to own a slave is a real cost to that human.

    your "opportunity" to produce a product while putting kepone in a river is a 'cost' to someone else.

    the law and the Constitution allows laws to protect the health and welfare of people – from others who would impose costs on others for themselves to have opportunity.

    Both the Constitution and the laws compels the state to protect the health and welfare of all citizens from those that would harm them in the name of opportunity for themselves.

    ergo.. you cannot own a slave and you will not be compensated for the loss of that right.

  122. Anonymous Avatar

    "We're talking about all the other people who did not exercise that right then and right up until now."

    It isn't a question of the right, it is a question of what did they invest in the right. With no investment, they didn't lose anything, and there is nothing to compensate.

    Suppose I build a factory to produce α-L-glucopyranosyl-(1,2)- β-D-fructofuranoside. I've got it 99% complete and I'm ready to go into production and suddenly the government bans this product.

    Am I entitled to compensation?

    Now, you have a point about the passage of time, but the point is mmot and you are employing it perversley and cynically and illogically. With passage of time, youget to the point (again) where ther is no loss to be claimed.

    Suppose I manageded to avail myself of the "right" to own a slave today. Where is the benefit? I couldn't sell it, I'd be ostracized. I didn't invest until AFTER the ban.

    It is completely different from my brothers situation. he still had property that was salable. His neighbors were sypathetic to his condition (and the money didn;t hurt). They did not seem to think that taxes due to infarastructure costs would kill them.

    In fact what they did was not too different from my suggestion as to how to sell off development rights, and yet control development.

    α-L-glucopyranosyl-(1,2)- β-D-fructofuranoside is left handed sugar. It is identical to sugar in every respect except, like Olestra, it cannot be digested and therfore adds no calories to the diet. The govenrmnet banned it because it is not "natural" and therefore opposed to the law of god. Some conspiracy theorists thinkit has something to do with secret special interst groups.

    RH

  123. Anonymous Avatar

    I don't agree with you and neither does our current Constitution ….

    ==============================

    Our laws as constructed since the constitution don not, certainly.

    You seriously do not see my two simple rules embedded EVERWHERE within the consitution?

    I feel sorry for you, then.

    RH

  124. Anonymous Avatar

    Wouldn't you have to tax everyone to get the money for everyone?

    ==================================

    No, absolutely not, in fact you would come out MORE ahead than we do now. Compensation is efficient.
    And it acts as a guaantee against false prophets of the public benefit.

    Call it PAYGO if you like.

    I used to think that way, too. It was a revelation to realize how wrong that idea is.

    RH

  125. Anonymous Avatar

    I simply do believe that the Constitution did allow restricting rights – as long as the restriction applied equally across the board.

    ——————————-

    Show me where it says that.

  126. " Suppose I build a factory to produce.."

    maybe.

    it depends on what is on your permit and what you were told about the likelihood of further restrictions ….

    but the permits are not forever..they are limited, they expire and there is ample warning of further restrictions especially if it becomes clear than a substance is much more deadly than first thought.

    The government has the right to ban a substance that threatens the health and welfare of citizens.

    Up until this point – you have insisted that all rights removed were owed compensation even if they were not exercised and it even applied to the future…

    it is not a "minor" point and I'm not employing it "perversley and cynically and illogically"

    there is no practical way to compensate everyone and their dog if the money to compensate them can only come from them to start with.

    That's why I keep asking you where you would get the money.

    You keep saying that someone lost their right and therefore they are "owed" compensation which is totally ludicrous when you're talking LITERALLY about EVERYBODY because the money to compensate has to come from those you say should be compensated.

    it's a totally bizarre idea.

  127. Anonymous Avatar

    your "opportunity" to own a slave is a real cost to that human.

    =================================

    Now you are changing the argument.

    We are not talking about that person, although that is a topic that STILL has not been resolved.

    Anyway, in this context it is loike saying there is an oppprtunity cost to the lot tha was or wan't created.

    RH

  128. Anonymous Avatar

    it depends on what is on your permit and what you were told about the likelihood of further restrictions ….

    Same problem with zoning, no?

    RH

  129. " I feel sorry for you, then."

    feel sorry for the thousands/millions of people in this country that agree… including all the courts and legislatures.

    If your idea had merit, some court somewhere would rule that way and it would find it's way up to the SCOTUS and a decision agreeing with you would be rendered.

    The fact that this has not happened is a clue…

  130. Anonymous Avatar

    The only thing that is bizarre about it is that it means you cannot pass your lack of full and proper funding forward as an ADDITIONAL burden to the next guy.

    The opnly reason you think it is bizarre is because you are opposed to it, and now we see why: it is all about the money, and not what is right and wrong and fair.

    RH

  131. " The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

  132. re: slavery

    no we're not changing the argument at all.

    what is the criteria that separates the Slavery "right" from other "rights" such that you can lose that right and not be compensated?

  133. with zoning – if you have an approved plat – you are vested – as long as you exercise that right before it "expires".

    it is a temporary right good only if exercised and your sons and daughters cannot sue if you do not exercise it and they inherit the land.

    well they can sue.. but it's just burn up their money.

  134. it's bizarre because if even someone agreed with you – and almost none do – there is no practical way to compensate everyone without taxing the same people to pay for it.

    THAT's BIZARRE!

    Even if you were 100% right – there is no practical way to compensate.

  135. Anonymous Avatar

    Now watch the developers fight this one. Note that it has bipartisan support.

    TMT

    2010 SESSION

    INTRODUCED

    2/3/10 15:20

    10101567D

    HOUSE BILL NO. 779
    Offered January 13, 2010
    Prefiled January 12, 2010
    A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 33.1-13.03, relating to evaluation of transportation projects in the Northern Virginia highway construction district; reports.

    Patrons––LeMunyon, Comstock, Hugo, Kory and Rust

    Referred to Committee on Transportation

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 33.1-13.03 as follows:
    § 33.1-13.03. Evaluation of transportation projects in Northern Virginia highway construction district; reports.
    The Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, shall evaluate significant transportation projects for the Northern Virginia highway construction district, including both highway and mass transit projects, and provide an objective, quantitative rating for each project according to (i) the total amount of reduction in traffic congestion regionally on major highways in the Northern Virginia highway construction district, and separately (ii)
    19 the amount of reduction in traffic congestion expected to be achieved per dollar cost of the project.
    Such evaluation shall rely on computer simulation using methods currently and customarily employed in transportation modeling. The Department of Transportation shall publicize its findings on its website and in reports to the Committees on Transportation of the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia, and update such findings at least annually, with the first report to be made no later than January 1, 2011. Each such report shall also note any particular order in which projects could be completed to:
    1. Reduce congestion as quickly as possible during typically congested periods in the Northern
    Virginia highway construction district; and
    2. Maximize regional mobility in the event of a homeland security emergency in the national capital
    area in three to five plausible scenarios, including a general evacuation of Washington, D.C., and the adjacent area of Virginia, loss of one or more existing Potomac River crossings, and loss of one or more Metro lines in Virginia.
    For purposes of this section, the significant transportation projects to be evaluated shall comprise at least 50 such projects, without regard to funding source, and include but not be limited to:
    a. Projects included in the version of the constrained long range plan in effect when the evaluation is made, plus additional projects in the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's TransAction 2030
    plan and subsequent updates; and
    b. Other highway, rail, and bus projects that could make a significant impact on mobility in the region, to include additional Potomac River crossings west and south of Washington, D.C., and
    extension of Metro's Orange Line, bus rapid transit on Interstate Route 66, and the planned Metro
    Silver Line to Loudoun County.
    INTRODUCED HB779

  136. developers will fight this:

    " ..Other highway, rail, and bus projects that could make a significant impact on mobility in the region, to include

    additional Potomac River crossings west and south of Washington, D.C., and

    extension of Metro's Orange Line, bus rapid transit on Interstate Route 66, and the planned Metro
    Silver Line to Loudoun County.

    ???

    why would developers be opposed to studies that will undoubtedly show a crying need for more infrastructure for more development?

    here's another one they'll love:

    Washington Bypass transportation corridor; Transportation Board to establish. (HB277)

    but you can study these things til the cows come home and what does it do if you don't have the money to build?

    Answer: tolls

    a new western transportation corridor WITH a NEW Potomac River crossing.. tolls.. and the "sweetener" is to give some of the tolls to Metro expansion.

    cool huh?

    I wonder if anyone has told Maryland?

  137. Anonymous Avatar

    It is snowing so hard my wieless modem lost signal. Besides I had to go make the first pass at the driveway.

    My last tractor came with a huge industrial snowplw that I figured I would never use, what with global warming and all.

    It will have paid for itself four times over this year.

  138. Anonymous Avatar

    well they can sue.. but it's just burn up their money.

    =============================

    Actally they cannot. If they could,this conversation would be unnecessary. It is cowards like yourself that enforce that system.

    I would GLADLY put my grievances in front of any twelve people chosen at random in this county, provided they are not PEC members.

    And if they found against me I would shrug and walk away. No offense taken.

    I do not have that right, and there is little to zero chance I could ever get it.

    My brothers neighbors could ahve easily stopped him, if they agreed with the county ruling. Instead, they simply took advantage of it.

    And for What? Ten lousy feet of setback in an area wher the house cannot even SEE each other?

    I'm sorry, but that is wrong. There had to be a better way, except for people who think like Larry Gross.

    I'm not arguing for my brother, it is just that it is one case IO knw well. There are thousands more stories just like it and worse.

    My brother is not a wealthy guy. He struggled to make payments on his investment for years, until he could afford to make good on it.

    ZAP. We want control of your land. 25 years of your life means nothing to us. No compensation. Have a nice life.

    NAH. You will never convince me that was ethical, necessary, or fair. Just hope I never wind up on one of those juries that cannot happen.

    RH

    RH

  139. Anonymous Avatar

    Such evaluation shall rely on computer simulation using methods currently and customarily employed in transportation modeling.

    ==============================

    Cool.

    I have no problem with that.

    Now lets complete the process.

    "At five year intervals henceforward, the models sall be re-evaluated under existing conditions. Funding provisions going forward from each subsequent checkpoint shall be revised according to the error between the initial projection and the actual results. The prupose of this provision is to provide a permanent five year rolling correction factor beteen planned and achieved results."

    Of course, Kaines grandson willprobably alter or freeze the formula.

    RH

  140. Anonymous Avatar

    If your idea had merit, some court somewhere would rule that way and it would find it's way up to the SCOTUS and a decision agreeing with you would be rendered.

    The fact that this has not happened is a clue…

    ===============================

    If you are talking about zoning cases, it is next to impossible to get to court. Otherwise there would be more cases.

    If you are talking about cases other than zoning, then my suggestons are increasingly being followed. Fisheries are an example and trading of Sulphuric acid permits are another.

    Cap and Trade issues on CO2 are still being worked out. And there is a reason for this. Big players ahve figured out that it might be fair,so they are workling hard to game the system.

    A primary way they are going about it is to make sure that existing polluters get first dibs, which is nothng more than a way of demanding compenation of their rights are eventually curtailed.

    RH

  141. Anonymous Avatar

    The first big property rights case in decades was heard before SCOTUS this year. Expect a result this spring.

    This is a very convoluted case, and I'm not sure which side I would come down on.

    Anyway, you are simply wrong about compensation. it would make our current processes faster and cheaper and more equitable.

    RH

  142. Anonymous Avatar

    but you can study these things til the cows come home and what does it do if you don't have the money to build?

    Answer: tolls

    ===============================

    Wrong.

    Tolls cannot provide the money to build because they attept to collect more funds from a smaller base.

    Privatized tolls are even worse because they amount to securitizationof public property with all the ills that befell securitization of mortgages.

    You have to be daft to think that this is a real answer.

    Japan High speed rail – bankrupt, bailed out by government -refinanced at ridiculous rates and now held up as a model for "private enterprise in transit"

    French High Speed Rail – Bankrupt, now closing numerous routes to save money.

    Dulled Greenway – Bankrupt -biled pout and resold at a loss. Now profitable on new financing after first nvestors lost their shirt.

    Metro – Billions in debt and falling apart without ever having paid a dime of its own construction costs – still searching for permanent source of funding other than those that use the system.

    You want more?

    RH

  143. Anonymous Avatar

    no we're not changing the argument at all.

    ============================

    Yes. the original conversation was only about the owners of slaves.

    You won't get any argument from me that the salves were wronged, but that was not part of our conversation about whether compensation is due when a loss is taken.

    Any time we change a rule,it is because we wish to right some wrong. That does not mean we are allowed to make new wrongs in the process. If it is worth doing,then it is worth paying full fair and immediate compensation along the way.

    Environmental and social PAYGO, is all it is. without it, you will dig ahole from which you can never recover.

    RH

  144. Anonymous Avatar

    We should do what Connecticut did to RI. Buld the highway in our chosen corridor right up to the border. Then build our half of the bridge and leave it cantilevered over Their river as a taunt.

    For decades if necessary.

    Rhode Island did not want the road in that area, but faced with facts on the ground they eventually capitulated.

    RH

  145. all of the operations you cite as "going broke" are all still operating – right?

    And Dulles apparently profitable enough to be a cash cow for Metro.

    HOT LANES on the beltway still moving forward..right?

    so tell me about the tax-funded projects that are ongoing?

    see any on the horizon?

    do you think in the next four years, we'll see an increase in the gas tax?

    My premise is super simple.

    no gas tax = no roads unless they are toll roads.

    people will vote AGAINST a tax increase but the cannot vote against a toll road because they have no skin in the game.

    Once the road gets built, people WILL use it…

    just like they WILL use METRO and the region will not give up on funding METRO…

    the future is transit – funded by toll roads…

    two birds with one stone. eh?

  146. no – the original conversation was about ANY right taken away and whether or not subsequent generations of people were "owed" compensation for that removed right.

    You cite that issue ALL THE TIME in talking about how people who move in later on are owed compensation for not have the same rights as the people who preceded them.

    right?

    All I was doing is picking a specific "right" and demonstrating to you that subsequent folks were not only not compensated but never thought to have been victims of rights taken either.

    You could legally use cocaine in the early 1900's but then it was outlawed.. a "right" taken away.

    where is the compensation for that?

    None.. Ray.. NONE…

    have you received your check yet for having the right to use Cocaine taken away from you?

    what about that?

  147. Anonymous Avatar

    "with zoning – if you have an approved plat – you are vested – as long as you exercise that right before it "expires"."

    —————————–

    True. But that is insuficient.

    Zoning rule changes are deliberately proposed to prevent development that would otherwise be allowed. Often the rules are changed AFTER a development is proposed.

    Make the zoning changed effective ten years after enactment and I will relent. That is enough "fair notice" for an average guy.

    As it tends now zoning changes are a direct example of you gold standard in regulation failing " No one whould be harmed".

    You stillhave never said WHY you don't think compensation is approprate, except that there is no money. Well fo course not, if you don't make it a requirement to plan for it.

    Requiring a zoning plat is crass, cynical and sysfunctional, to begin with. And then on top of that it is expensive to apply for, with no guarantee of success.

    In this area land was originally zoned uniformly at one hose per three acres. In those days it did not make any difference because there was no market, escept for falily, and it did not matter anyway.

    Only when pwople actually started to build houses did th zoning suddenly change. And five additional times since then. it was a direct assault on rights taht wer preveiouslypromides, and often paid for.

    What happened to those people was wrong, and theonley beneficiaries wer big builders and wxisting homeowners.

    RH

  148. Anonymous Avatar

    all of the operations you cite as "going broke" are all still operating – right?

    =========================

    No. The ones I cited went broke. They were replaced by new operations that did not pay what the real estate and machinery costs.

    You buy my money losing farm and sell it back to me for a dime, and I can make money. Still the same farm, right?

    RH

  149. Anonymous Avatar

    And Dulles apparently profitable enough to be a cash cow for Metro.

    Not the toll road, the greenway, I was talking about.

    The toll road is a (current) cash cow because it was paid for with taxpayer money. It was never paid for with tolls alone.

    The tolls were a gimme.

    RH

  150. laws and rules change.

    The Constitution lays out a 'due process' for changing.

    As long as the changes apply to everyone in the same circumstance, it meets the equal protection clause.

    what happened before the change is moot and not germane unless an individual can demonstrate an economic loss.

  151. It doesn't make any sense to say that ANY transit system is "going broke" as they all are because none of them operate on farebox only but "going broke" is misnomer if they continue to operate and are not closed and sold for parts which is what happens to companies that "go broke".

    no tax increase = no new roads.

    it's pretty simple math.

    As bad as it is with TOLL roads, they're still more viable that tax-funded roads.

    're-financing' that results in continued operation is not "going broke"…you have companies all over the map in every conceivable industries doing that all the time.

  152. Anonymous Avatar

    no – the original conversation was about ANY right taken away and whether or not subsequent generations of people were "owed" compensation for that removed right.

    ===============================

    We have not got to the subsequent generatons argument beause we have never resolved the first part, whether compensation is uniformly owed to the first party, the one with an actual investment.

    You are trying to introduce it as a way to refute the former argument.

    The question at hand is whether having paid for a property, of whatever type, no matter how badly that property is looked at at some time in the future, the owner of that property has the same right as anyone wlse to have it protected by the government.

    We are not talking about property that was gotten illegally.

    Consider Prohibition. My family has a case of fine Amontillado. It is our custom that at the fisrt birth in a new generation we toast with a bottle from that case. We have done so for generatons.

    Suddenly that case is against the law and BATF breaks in and smashes it to prevent the scourge of public drunkenness.

    I claim compensation is owed. It could be as simpe as allowing the custom until the case is consumed.

    Instead we have a government of fatheads.

    RH

  153. Anonymous Avatar

    It doesn't make any sense to say that ANY transit system is "going broke" as they all are

    =============================

    Then it does not make any sense to say the answer is tolls.

    RH

  154. Anonymous Avatar

    The Constitution lays out a 'due process' for changing.

    ===============================

    Yes it does. When that due process is applied to the requirement that property taken is paid for, then you let me know.

    What it does not say is what you claimed it says above.

    I have never claimed that rules cannot be changed. Only that you may not ignore governments first purpose, protecting people and property, when you do.

    RH

  155. the govt can and does change rules without compensation of those whose 'potential' use of those rights has been extinguished.

    that's the 'due process' in that as long as everybody "potential" is equally done away with – there is no "unfair" discrimination.

    we don't compensate rights never exercised and then taken.

    we compensate ONLY when someone can demonstrate a real economic loss.

    that's due process also – again if the rules apply equally.

  156. Anonymous Avatar

    Just came in from plowing again. The thundersnow is really cool. With all the snow relecting and refracting the entire sky turns elsctric blue and lingers for a second or more.

    some things even the government can't take away.

    RH

  157. Anonymous Avatar

    the govt can and does change rules without compensation of those whose 'potential' use of those rights has been extinguished.

    ===============================

    Local governmet does tht in violation of it obligationto protect citizens and thier property and probably in violation of the constitution.

    It IS in violation of the constitution in my mind, because the founding fathers made it abundantly clear what they thought of protecting property.

    Now what liberty can there be where property is taken without consent? – Samuel Adams

    The Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution. – Alexander Hamilton

    It just has not gotten to court yet.

    What do you suppose the ruling will be if it is similar to the gun rulings?

    RH

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