Sic Semper Tyrannis

This letter comes from Mike Wade, chairman of the Republican Party of Hamption and chairman of the Republican Third Congressional District Committee. I will post my own observations in a follow-up post. — Jim Bacon

With every political pundit focused on the transportation issue in the General Assembly, it seems fitting for his Excellency, Senator John Chichester to steal the stage. His collaborative effort with other Senators to squash any hope of compromise transportation legislation seems at this point to have succeeded.

I must admit that I too have many problems with the specifics of HB3202 and do not support its passage as presented. I do, however, believe that there are some parts worth saving and that these components are fundamental to solving the transportation problems Virginians face daily. Unlike Sen. Chichester, I honestly look to amendments and substitute language to achieve a needed piece of legislation. The Senator’s preferred legislation was nothing more than a smack in the face of those who work in earnest for a solution to congestion.

It is true that Sen. Chichester did not accomplish this alone but it is under his leadership that it has taken place. Senator Quayle helped negotiate the “Compromise Package” and then proved to be nothing more than Chichester’s lap dog.

What part of being a team player eludes John Chichester? How does he consider himself a Republican? I guess we should expect this sad legacy he has created as a supposed Republican. Rumor has it that Wikipedia will soon use his name as a definition of a RINO — you know, those folks who trample the core Republican philosophy of “smaller government and lower taxes”.

These are the same folks that argued that Russ Potts is a “good guy” and should remain at his committee post. Potts should have been run out of the Republican Party for challenging our nominee. Instead Chichester gave him a free pass and further alienated grass root volunteers who donate their time and resources freely to the beliefs they hold dear.

This is the same Senator that made a political nothing, Gov. Mark R. Warner, a presidential hopeful. What good is it to be a Republican if all you do is ally with the opposition and further their liberal socialist message? I see no difference between John Chichester and that scoundrel Jim Webb who believe that taxes are the only solution to the problems facing Virginia.

Simply put, John Chichester needs to be removed from the Republican Party. He is motivated only to benefit himself or special interests, surely not the people of Virginia. He is deluded by his own arrogance, fortified at every chance he gets to demean the Republican name he wears.

I ask all members of the Republican Party in Virginia that truly believe in Ronald Reagan’s great legacy to rally. I ask those members who believe as Jefferson did that government is a burden upon the people who own it, to take action against Sen. Chichester. Sen. John Chichester has no honor and knows no shame. Chichester and his cohorts are the reason the Republican message has been lost and diluted in Virginia. If we are to maintain a majority based on Republican principles and the understanding of who owns the government then we must work statewide to remove this pariah.

At this point in history, the Republican Party of Virginia can not afford to have a leader in the Senate who is a political coward. If Chichester does not have the tenacity to support the values of the party name he wears, then he should change parties or better yet, simply get out of politics. All members of the Republican Party across the state should call for Senator John Chichester to remove himself from the Party.

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37 responses to “Sic Semper Tyrannis”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon and others:

    I urge you to read this morning’s editorials in the Roanoke Times and The Washington Post about the
    gridlock in the General Assembly
    concerning funding our many unmet transportation needs.

    It will take an effort to blend the two funding proposals that are now floating in the GA in a black hole.

    We need some leadership to help us find constructive solutions to our major growth and transportation problems.

    The letter you have posted this morning does little to help us find a means to accomplish that


    Rodger Provo

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    WOW! After reading the content – at the end in huge flashing neon sparkles is the word AGENDA.

    I see this is simplier terms.

    Chichester fundamentally has a different view of how transportation dollars and policy should be done.

    Second, he is “strong” enough politically – NOT only with his own constitutents but with his colleagues to have effective TRACTION.

    Essentially he believes that he can not only survive but proper on the merits of his stand.

    The vituperous words need to be backed up with an viable competitor to him in his own district – as well as – I’d point out … competitors against the concept of RINOs in general.

    You know.. this is a Republican canniablization issue. it’s not about Democrats and it’s not about representing constitutents.

    It’s about who some of the movers and shakers in the Republican party want their party to be – and if does not match up with the voting constitency… so those in the Republican party who cannot accept this .. essentially have form “hit” squads on their OWN party members.

    Combine this with Kaine’s targetting of convervative Republicans in the Urban Areas and we have a very successful blast off your own feet with s shotgun strategy.

    go for it!

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon, Larry Gross:

    It is my understanding 40% of the
    traffic on Virginia’s interstate
    highway system is generated by
    out of state users.

    The Fredericksburg region’s highway
    system includes I-95, Rt. 1, Rt. 3,
    Rt. 17 and Rt. 301. The busy rail
    line owned by CSX is located there
    that serves Hampton Roads ports and
    the East Coast.

    We have more than 5,000 hotel rooms
    in the region catering to truck and
    vehicle traffic.

    Those highway users are traveling up and down the East Coast on I-95, down I-95 to I-85 to the Deep South, to I-81 to the Midwest and Northeast, to
    the military bases and ports in the
    Hampton Roads region, to the Outer
    Banks and between major population
    centers in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

    It is morally corrupt of the House
    GOP Conservative Caucus and the
    Hampton GOP City Chairman to stand
    behind a tax plan that does not seek revenue from these highway users while looking to levy additional debt, fees and taxes
    (by local governments) on Virginia

    I think the low tax, small government crowd that controls the
    GOP needs to be called on the carpet for this position.


    Rodger Provo

  4. Groveton Avatar

    The article on the comprimise (or lact thereof) in today’s WaPo is OK. However, there is another article that should be read entitled, “Transit Officials Have Ideas — but not funds — for Route 15”. Arianne Aryanpur has the byline. It is the story of two MAryland teenagers who died in a car crash on Rt 15 last summer. There are a number of road safety improvements planned for the road but VDOT says they don’t have the money. The total tab for the improvements is $2M.

    A critical quote from the article:

    “Loudoun Supervisor Jim Clem (R-Leesburg) said he was pleased with the recommended improvements but concerned about the funding issue.

    “It’s obvious from the documents coming in from Richmond, we’re not getting any money, which means we’re going to have to do these things ourselves,” Clem said.”.

    Yes Supervisor Clem, the localities are going to have to take over from the state.

    Maybe the best thing for the people of Virginia would be for teh transportation funding gridlock to continue up to the next elections.

    The state legislature has far too much power relative to the localities.

    Ths state legislature is trying to establish one program for a state where different regions have wildly different views of the future.

    The state legislature is dominated by political hacks who would much prefer to debate each other than solve problems.

    The state legislature operates in an opaque manner intended to deceive the voters and taxpayers.

    Fundamentally, the key question that needs to be addressed in the next election is whether Virginia should remain a Dillon Rule state.

    For those who don’t know:

    The Dillon rule is used in interpreting state law when there is a question as to the power of a local government. In any question regarding the power of a local government Dillon’s Rule presumes that the local government does NOT have any power.

    John Dillon was the “inventor” of the Dillon Rule. He was Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court over 100 years ago. Dillon hates local governments and local government officals. He is famously quoted as saying, “those best fitted by their intelligence, business experience, capacity and moral character” do not seek local office. He also said that actions taken by the local governments were “unwise and extravagant”.

    John Dillon put forth his infamous rule and it was adopted by the Virginia Supreme Court at the end of teh 18th centure. It is still the law in Virginia.

    This transportation gridlock needs to become a referendum on Virginia’s status as a Dillon Rule state. There needs to be a referendum on changing the Virginia state constitution to expressly say that Virginia is NOT a Dillon Rule state and any dispute between the state and the local authorities will be decided in favor of the local authorities.

    It will become a Groveton Rule state.

  5. Groveton Avatar

    Source of information on Dillon’s Rule is “Dillon’s Rule” by Clay L. Writ.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    The Dillion Rule does not force localities to approve rezones especially those that have unacceptably adverse impacts on infrastructure.

    The Dillion rule did not force counties to draw imaginary lines on their comp plans that VDOT told them could not be funded.

    Raising a state level gas tax to continue bailing out irresponsible land-use decisions by our counties is not only a failed approach – you actually are encouraging more of it.

    The Dillion Rule did not force locaities to continue to approve subdivisions when they already knew that previously promised VDOT roads had not been deliver on time and on budget.

    The Dillion Rule did not force localities to NOT require Proffers that would actually mitigate the fiscal impact to county taxpayers from new development.

    I could go on but the truth is that localities have – and continue to hide behind the Dillion Rule for their own irresponsible actions.

    Note the word “action”. If localities had simply NOT acted on proposals that would harm their jursidictions fiscally as well as degrading the levels of service for existing residents – we would not be faced with a state level transportation crisis.

    It is the 400 lane miles a year of NEW SUBDIVISIONS over the last 20 years that has vampired VDOT’s funds.

    And this happened in the context of 2 localities out of 99 counties plus most towns and cities in Va. taking care of their own roads rather than sucking off of VDOT

    Every locality in Va that hides behind the Dillion rule has the right to NOT approve AND they HAVE the right and the responsibility to insure that their country roads are kept responsibly even if they have to take them over like other counties have.

    You only need to ask yourself WHY counties have approved policies that reward land speculation to understand how this happened.

  7. Groveton Avatar

    From the League of Women Voters:

    “Virginia applies Dillon’s Rule in a strict way. Actions of a county board of supervisors must be in accordance with the EXACT language of the enabling state legislation. This fact of life is little understood by most residents.”

    It’s high time that “most residents” come to understand that the problems of congestion in some areas and poor job growth in others come back to a tyranical and incompetent state legislature.

    And what was it that the Virginia state motto says about tyrants?

  8. Groveton Avatar


    Again from the League of Women Voters:

    “… Dillon’s Rule has been part of the law of Virginia since 1896 and is a fundamental rule for construing the scope of governmental powers. Attempts to repeal or modify its rigors by a constitutional amendment. as was attempted in 1971, or by legislative enactment are routinely allowed to slumber in the committees of the General Assembly.”.

    “…allowed to slumber in the committees of the General Assembly.”

    No vote by the taxpayers.

    Illinois has many of the same problems facing Virginia. An urbanized upstate and a rural downstate. What did Illinois do? adopted Home Rule legislation in 1970. In fact, 40 of the country’s 50 states have Home Rule provisions on the books.

    Regardless of your opinion as to the merits of Home Rule, can I assume that you would support a vote on a Home Rule amendment to the Virginia Constitution? A vote, that is, by the citizens.

    Or, do you believe that allowing critical changes (already enacted by 80% of the US states) should continue to “… slumber in the committees of the General Assembly.”?

    Ball’s in your court. Who should decide how Virginia is governed? The voters / taxpayers or the political hacks in Richmond?

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    This is awesome. Republicans are now in effect blaming local government for the road quandry we are in presently. And why do local governments approve development so consistently – because of a little thing called private property rights – a hallmark of Republicanism.

    So, the Republicans AGAIN fins themselves in one hell of a quandry as their philosophy (each person can do what they want with their land) runs smack into reality (this type of decision making requires government subsidies to maintain).

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “voters / taxpayers or the political hacks in Richmond?”

    THIS is a question?


    I’ve been a LONG time supporter of citizen initiated referenda.

    Without it – we have no hope in Virginia; The special interests and political hacks will continue to run amok.

  11. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “why do local governments approve development so consistently – because of a little thing called private property rights – a hallmark of Republicanism.

    So, the Republicans AGAIN fins themselves in one hell of a quandry as their philosophy (each person can do what they want with their land) runs smack into reality (this type of decision making requires government subsidies to maintain).”

    hoisted on their own petard…

    also.. please note there IS a difference between “property rights” – the ability to enjoy your own property…

    and “development rights” – the right of an individual to make money off of his land without taxpayer subsidies for the public infrastructure needed to serve the developed property.

    This is why we have CDAs, TIFs, etc that ALL counties CAN ELECT to REQUIRE for development but instead .. hiding behind the Dillon rule – decide instead to give away what belongs to taxpayers to individuals for their own personal gain.

    The rest of us smucks stand around bent over only to glad to assume the position…

    Sometimes I cannot believe just how stoooopid so many are… or worse… actually think that somehow is is the “right” of developers to slurp on taxpayer money.

  12. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    “I’ve been a LONG time supporter of citizen initiated referenda.”

    Hey, we found something to agree on.

  13. Groveton Avatar

    Anon (11:25) – I hope you’re not saying that I’m a Republican blaming local government.

    I vote for Republican candidates about 65% of the time (a percentage that has been falling in recent years – as a recent example, my vote for Jim Webb). And I squarely blame the state governement for the road quandry.

    It’s the state government that has the vast majority of the power. It’s the state government that hasn’t updated the transportation funding system in 20 years. It’s the state government that spent all last year lost in petty gridlock. It’s the state government that’s lost in partisian recriminations (instead of progress) now. It’s the state government that has consistently operated in secret and opaque ways. Finally, and worst of all, it’s the state government that has denied the voters and taxpayers the right to vote on the adoption of Home Rule.

    I believe that Virginia has the worst state legislature in the United States. It’s past redemption. We need strong Home Rule. Put the accountability for local issues like property rights vs. public good as close to the people as possible.

    The very notion that some governing body could develop laws and plans that simultaneously meet the needs of all people in a state as diverse as Virginia is the height of arrogance.

    For example, look at Buchanan County (south west Virginia) and Fairfax County (northern Virginia).

    Land area –

    Buchanan – 504 sq mi
    Fairfax – 400 sq mi

    Population –

    Buchanan – 26,978 (2000 census)
    Fairfax – 1,041,200 (2005)

    Population density –

    Buchanan – 21/sq KM
    Fairfax – 1,018/sq KM

    Racial makeup –

    Buchanan – 96.75% white
    Fairfax – 69.9% white

    Median income (per household) –

    Buchanan – $22,213
    Fairfax – $81,050

    The egomaniacs in the state legislature think they can find the plan that will accomodate the people of both Buchanan and Fairfax counties.

    The egomaniacs in the state legislature wan’t too keep the power at their level by opposing Home Rule measures that would let the people of Buchanan and Fairfax separately decide what’s best for their communities.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    The Virginia state legislature is a totalitarian, socialist-oriented organization. They are totalitarian in their staedfast denial of a vote (by the general population) on the matter of Home Rule. They are socialist in their belief in central planning and their “one size fits all” brand of oppression.

    Your point about Republican theory and property rights is dead on. My property rights include the real estate I own as well as the money I make. At least that’s my definition.

    The Republicans claim they are protecting my (real estate) property rights. Maybe they are. However, they are denying my other property rights by over-centralizing the collection of taxes and distribution of monies collected as taxes.

    They are telling the people of Virginia that they should be able to use their land however they want. Then they are telling the people of places like Fairfax County that they should pay far more in taxes than they use in order to subsidize the people of other counties.

    These faux Republicans then try to make their arguments seem more reasonable by only discussing roads and VDOT. Education, police and emergency services, welfare, universities, the costs of beauracracy are all “off the table”.

    Their mantra is “usage fees” aren’t taxes. Therfore, adopting usage fees is not increasing taxes. And “usage fees” only count for roads and VDOT. Not for schools, not for local economic development projects, not for funding for universities – only for roads and VDOT.


    These Democrats in Republican clothing want to preserve the system of subsidy established in the state of Virginia. These closet liberals want their subsidies for schools and universities and ports but they don’t want to pay for it. But now the pseudo free marketers have a problem. The same people who have been providing the subsidies need a bigger and better transportation system. This part of the subsidy system might start to flow in reverse. The total subsidy from Northern Virginia to the rest of the state might decrease.

    So, the fake conservatives zero in on this area of reverse subsidy. They moan about how unfair it is for people in one area to get new roads paid for by people in other areas. They proclaim the brilliance of “usage fees” – but only for roads.

    They do all this, of course, because they are not really Republicans, not really conservatives and not really free market thinkers. They are residents of counties that are on the state sponsored dole and they don’t want to see their welfare payment decreased.

  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “totalitarian, socialist-oriented organization.”

    hmm… we may agree on more…


    Virginia is owned by special interests especially those who profit from land speculation and allied financial interests – BOTH parties – a good ole boy network that won’t quit.

    but I’d like to know more about how you think the major roads especially the interstates and the heavily congested commuter roads that are regional and extra-regional in nature..

    how would you fund these if not from tolls and congestion priced tolls?

    I see you are not for BIG tax slurping government but I’m a little skeptical that moving everything down the local level is going to address mega-road infrastructure.

    You seem to advocate that each person pay… for services rendered but not with TOLLS?

    please explain if not tolls, then what.

  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Rodger – you’re pretty good a describing the “terrible” problem that we face and your advocacy for more money.

    So 2 questions for you:

    1. – Do you know how much money a 5 cent gas tax will generate for the Fredericksburg Area?

    My calculation is somewhere in the range of 30-40 million dollars but if you have a different/better number… please supply it

    2. – Do you think this amount of new annual money is sufficient to build what you think needs to be built?

    Bonus question – If you do NOT think this will be sufficient – what other gevenue-producing measures would you support?

  16. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Groveton – same question I asked Rodger.

    Your answer…

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    oops… Groveton – same question for YOUR area….

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Groveton, Larry Gross:

    I would rather Virginia have a tax
    structure that produces more revenue from
    our highway users from outside of the state which
    I think the so-called compromise plan fails to do.

    We have failed to fund our needs over the last 20 years,
    thus it is going to take time to dig ourselves out of
    the hole we are floundering
    in today.

    I have heard estimates that the Fredericksburg area
    could use $1 billion in
    the near
    term to meet their needs.

    I do not think our problems will be
    resolved simply by putting more money into the system.

    We need land use reform, growth management
    and a state government active in that public policy area.


    Rodger Provo

  19. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Rodger has a good point.

    The lame Republican plan makes Virginans pay for out of state use.

    At least the gas tax would capture a fair share.

    But even then, 5 cents is not going to touch the costs of upgrading I-95, I-81 and I-64 which is why I favor tolls.

    Capture REAL revenue sufficient to actually do what is needed.

    If the GA wanted to do some compensating relief to Virginians via the State Income tax – they could.. or even help Virginia Businesses…

    but wait.. that would actually require some real thought on the part of our legislators….

    .. oops sorry.. I forgot. .this is all about a pissing contest between the two parties not about solutions for their constituents.

  20. nova_middle_man Avatar

    Heres a solution I posted on not larry sabato a couple days ago

    It only solves the funding question which is 1/3 of the puzzle the land use and how we spend the money are the other 2/3 and equally important but for now the focus seems to be on funding

    Here is my dream scenario

    1. Agree on the landuse from the gov and the now defunct republican plan

    2. Financials

    For starters dedicate all of the budget surplus to transportation

    this will annoy the governor and the spenders mostly Ds


    Throw the budget to the republicans and say show me what to reduce/cut to make up the difference

    (fight over that)

    whatever is left have as a statewide gas tax increase and a slight transit tax

    which will annoy the anti-taxers and Rs

    Chances of this happening a million to 1 but this is what needs to happen IMHO

    What will happen a sightly watered down version of what Kaine has will pass allowing the Ds to claim victory and march on towards taking back the house and senate.


    It might be an interesting exercise to read through the comments and see how people view this issue from a center-left NoVa perspective


    Heres a question. How much money is actually “needed”. There are so many different numbers floating around no wonder people are disagreeing.


    oops sorry.. I forgot. .this is all about a pissing contest between the two parties not about solutions for their constituents.

    Totally agree Larry

    For the reducers it’s fight against tax increases at all costs

    For the taxers it’s fight against cuts/reductions in other areas of state funding at all costs

    The new senate finance plan is actually a compromise on these reduce spending by 66 million and raise gas tax to make up the difference

    The governor wanted to toally raise and the republican compromise cutted 250 million.

    The reason most of the Rs are annoyed is that they feel they already compromised while the Governor did not change anything from last year

    So looking at this obejctively it was the governors turn to compromise but Chicheter did it for him. That is why the R rank and file are upset.

  21. Groveton Avatar

    1. How much money will a $.05/gallon gas tax increase yield for Fairfax County?

    I’ll have to guess. Virginia’s population consumes about 525 gallons of gas / person / year. There are about 1M people in Fairfax County. That’s 525M gallons consumed by Fairfax County residents. At $.05 per gallon that’s … $26.25M.

    I think I got that about right.

    2. Will the increase in gas tax pay for the needed transportation infrastructure improvements in Fairfax County?

    Nope, Larry, that won’t even come close. If we could borrow all the money we needed to new infrastructure that wouldn’t cover the interest.

    Now, let me ask you two questions.

    1. How much money is taken from the citizens of Fairfax County beyond what is spent in Fairfax County (plus a straight-line per capita allocation for statewide overhead like the Governor’s salary)?

    2. If the surplus in 1. above were spent on building transportation infrastructure in Fairfax County – would it be enough for the County?

  22. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I don’t know the answer to your question though I have asked.

    I think the answer to your question is important.

    Both in terms of how much, where it comes from and how it is allocated.

    important to know where it comes from.

    I assume NOT, the gas tax and NOT the property tax.

    If you’re talking about the sales tax please say so but please also acknowledge that the state gets a proportional “cut” of EVERY localities sales tax – right?

    Doesn’t the state get 2%?

    Is there something UNIQUE to Fairfax that does not apply to other jurisdicitions?

    THAT would be unfair.

    people talk about how things are so expensive in Fairfax and THAT is one of the reasons why people cannot afford to live there.

    Is this “appropriated” money from Fairfax to the State one of the reasons why?

    educate me.

  23. Groveton Avatar

    From a comment posted on Dr. Gridlock’s column:

    “Fairfax County currently only gets about 21cents of every tax dollar we send to Richmond back in services or dollars. We have been subsidizing low tax rates in the rest of VA. Time for the rest of Va to pay up. No new taxes, fees etc until the rest of Va pays their fair share. Roads are great in Fauquier or around Richmond. If NOVA member of the VA house and Senate vote for this then they will not be relelected. It is time to seriously conisder secession.”

    And, no, I did not write that.

    Could that be true? Fairfax County only keeps 21 cents of every dollar collected in taxes?

    And the people on this site want us to pay for the roads we use with usage fees?

    How about we pay for our roads with the other 79 cents / dollar?

    Mr. Bacon, with all due respect, you never want to address this issue. What is your estimate of the defference between the amount of taxes (of all types) collected from Fairfax County residents vs. the amount of money the state gives back (in all ways) to Fairfax County? Do you agree with the 21 cent / 79 cent estimate?

    And, if you are a fiscal conservative and if you really deplore the welfare state – do you think this is fair?

  24. nova_middle_man Avatar

    I am trying to work on the hard numbers and data Larry but for now consider this

    like everything there is politics twisted around but I am ignoring that for now

    once again these number are hypothetical for now

    The unique aspect is this
    for every dollar Fairfax sends to Richmond they get 75 cents back

    whereas for every dollar county X sends to Richmond they get 1.25 back

    To make up this imbalance Fairfax must pay “more” for Education (Substitute whatever program you want) so the actual tax rate must be higher than in County X to make up the difference.

    P.S. this is one of the main reasons why there is a NoVa RoVa effect and why if NoVa succeeded from Virginia the rest of the state would be in trouble

    There is no free market, none of the counties pay their own way they either subsidize another county or feed from the state trough.

    So it comes full circle since Fairfax knows schools are a net loss for them because of the funding formula they discourage housing. Whereas in County X schools might be a net positive cash flow.

    I think we are getting close on at least understanding the dynamics in play and how all of these issues are interconnected together.

    One last thing though logically it makes no sense. The more populous counties are trending D and they actually have a net loss from taxes whereas the poorer rural counties are generally R and they actually have a net gain from taxes. The same is true at the state level if you track red and blue.

  25. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I hope that we can hang in there and develop more data.

    I understand the School part in terms of the theory.

    The intent is for each kid in Virginia to get a minimum standard education no matter where they live.

    So the state literally takes from the Rich and gives to the poor to make this happen. The benchmark is the SOQs. That’s how the state allocates the money. The poorer counties get more money proportionally but ONLY up to the SOQs. Beyond that it is a local funding choice.

    I KNOW for a fact that Fairfax spends hugely in this area way, way about the SOQs so important to know more precisely what the actual dollars are that they lose.

    THEN with roads.. I THINK that VDOT has a similiar approach but I’m not sure… basically ignorant on the specifics… I don’t think there is a huge amount involved in terms of maintenance…New roads.. I dunno.. with VDOT’s typical shell game.. who would know.

    HOWEVER… a major policy issue at stake which is if the school money is where Fairfax loses in a major way.. is the solution to rebate back Fairfax education funds – for transportation?

    I think this not a good approach.

    It sets a bad precedent in two ways:

    1. – It comingles both fund sources and revenues..

    2. – it would set up a direct competition between roads and education without a standard.. just katie bar the door policies unique to jursidictions and even possibly unique from year to year.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think the second worst offender for squandering taxpayer money is education but it’s harder to deal with that issue because of the “poor little kids” karma.

    But a final question.

    If it is true – that Fairfax gives away 20+ percent and it is a significant amount of money that has two bad effects:

    1. raise property taxes to compensate

    2. diverts money that is needed for transportation

    WHERE are your elected representatives?

    Why don’t they make the proposals and the case for the proposals even if they go done… at least it gets the issue out in front of the public which … innoculate them from voter ire if the rest of the GA still decides to screw over Fairfax – at least their own constituents would know.

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Fairfax tending “D”.

    yes… and thes folks more open to tax increases.. than Rs….

    so you have elected Rs from NoVa/HR… representing D’s – right?

    see a problem with this longer term?

  27. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Groveton, Please don’t say that I “never want to address this issue” of inter-regional transfers of wealth. I have addressed it often, and I’m far more sympathetic to Fairfax County than you might think.

    The biggest inter-regional transfers of wealth in Virginia occurs as a result of the Standards of Quality educational funding formula. This formula is designed to address the “inequities” in resources between wealthy counties and poor counties. Wealthy jurisdictions around the state — Henrico County, where I live, for instance — get a raw deal, too, although probably few get as lousy a return on their taxes as Fairfax County. If you oppose this inter-regional transfer of wealth, take it up with the liberal denizens of, among other places, Northern Virginia who believe in taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

    The transportation funding formulas also return only a portion of their tax take to Fairfax County. But the same applies, perhaps to a lesser degree, to all metro areas. You see, one of the purposes of state-maintained roads is to provide connectivity between cities. Northern Virginia may not care today if all roads ended at the Rappahannock River, but there once was a time when your part of the state valued that connectivity. By the nature of things, inter-city roads run for most of their length between cities — in sparsely populated counties.

    There is more to it than that, of course. The transportation funding formula was last revised around 1986 (my memory may be incorrect on the exact time), when rural legislators had far more clout than they do today. If you want to get a bigger share of your money back, perhaps your legislators ought to reopen the issue of the transportation funding formula. But be prepared for scorched-earth politics by rural legislators.

  28. nova_middle_man Avatar

    Larry to go along with your 5:32

    The few Rs from NoVa are actually caught in the middle side with the Rs which “punishes” the more populous areas or side with the Ds knowing full well that additional spending hurts them as well.

    As far as changing the funding formulas it is as Jim has suggested a unsuccessful exercise being that the poorer rural counties outnumber the urban ones in vote representation.

    Ready for this the reason there is a NoVa and HR seperate transportation authority is because the Rs control what is going on and they dont want to raise taxes which punishes everyone equally so they just want HR and NoVa to self-fund while the rest of the counties still drink from the public trough

    Phew glad I am still anonymous :-p


    Kenton did a wonderful map about the education formula

    Click on source for the supporting documentation


    Vivain Watts my legislature is a point person at trying to chip away at the NoVa RoVa imbalance. The Warner tax increase got more dollars sent to NoVA than previous formulas.

    Enjoy the superbowl ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    From you excellent source…. I get about $160 million that Fairfax loses.

    That’s is not chump change… works out to a billion every 6 1/2 years.

    That’s about $160 per capita (average driver pays about 130 per captia in gas tax)

    I derived the 160 million by looking at the SOQ per student number (about 4K) and your source says Fairfax gets about 60% of that back so they lose 40% of the 4K times 165,000 students.

    .. might want to validate…

    off to the Super Bowl…

  30. Groveton Avatar

    Jim Bacon – I stand corrected with regard to your willingness to address the wealth transfer question – in general.

    How can we develop a map that shows which counties transfer out, which counties transfer in and how much? Is this kind of map possible.

    I think this is a crucial question. It pervades the mindsets of Northern Virginia voters. Unanswered, they will vote down any new taxes, usage fees etc. – regardless of R or D.

  31. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun, but not Prince William, regularly get hosed on state support for K-12 education. For example, according to Senator Chichester’s committee staff, the Warner-Chichester tax increases cost Fairfax County taxpayers 107.8 M (net) for 2005. According to FCPS, it received less than $14 M in new money. The schools did receive more than $100 M in 2005 from the State, but that was related to the biennial re-benchmarking of the SOQs. That would have occurred even without the tax increases. The new money above and beyond the SOQ changes was less than $14 M. I asked. Thus, it cost $107 M to get an additional $14 M.

    I understand that the situations for Arlington and Loudoun were quite similarly bleak. Prince William, on the other hand, does better under the formula and, as a result thereof, Prince William’s senators and delegates have not been interested in rocking the boat. Do you blame them?

    The fault lies with the rubes that live in NoVA, especially Fairfax County. We may think that we are smart, successful and sophisticated, but RoVA plays us for fools.

    Very few Fairfax County residents, including our crackerjack business community, have the knowledge and understanding of the rules of the game to be successful. We rant and rave about the bad deal we get from Richmond on education funding, but then lobby vigorously for more of the same. Just as with transportation, there are many people in Fairfax County who think that gremlins fill the General Fund, rather than Fairfax County residents. They ask for more money from Richmond without understanding that they receive only cents on the dollar. Unless the sophisticates in RoVA are willing to take less (ha, ha), it costs us “rubes” dollars to get pennies. Yet, the typical resident of Fairfax County would support higher state taxes to get pennies back, rather than higher local taxes that at least stay here.

    The Warner-Chichester tax increases may have been good for Virginia, but they were a disaster for Fairfax County. The legislators who voted for them know this and should be ashamed of themselves. Fortunately, their constituents are hicks and won’t hold them accountable.

  32. Groveton Avatar


    You have NOT hit the nail on head. You have driven the nail to the core of the Earth.

    You are completely right.

    Del. Clay Athey was recently quoted on Baconsrebellion as saying that the high growth counties need to “grow up” and act like cities (whatever that means).

    Why did he say this?

    Because the real estate tax rate in Warren County is $.82 / $100 and the rate in Fairfax County is $.89 / $100. AND Fairfax is funding the rest of the state! Now the Front Royal crowd is complaining becasue their citizens live in Warren County and work in Fairfax County and (I am not making this up) Fairfax County isn’t paying enough for the roads that the people of Warren County use when they drive to work.

    Del. Athey is a bankruptcy lawyer when he’s not “fighting the good fight” in Richmond. No wonder he doesn’t like the economic growth approach of Fairfax County. Jobs are bad for bankruptcies.

    Next comes Ole Chichester. He is listed as R-Northumberland. However, I believe his district is considerably bigger than Northumberland County. But it includes Northumberland. Here’s some facts on Northumberland County:

    From Wikipedia:

    Reedville, a small town in eastern Northumberland County, is home to the Atlantic menhaden fishing industry. Years ago, dozens of fish processing factories, most recently Omega Protein Corporation (successor to Zapata Haynie, Reedville Oil and Guano Company and Haynie Products Company) and Standard Products Company, dotted the Northumberland coastline near Reedville and adjacent fishing communities. Today, Omega Protein remains as the largest industrial organization in the area. Omega, with a fleet of large ocean-going fish harvesting vessels, supported by a number of spotter aircraft, is a major industry in the area and on the eastern seaboard. Menhaden, once caught, are cooked in large mass and processed for further use in various applications including as a protein additive for poultry feed. Menhaden have brought tremendous wealth to Reedville and to Northumberland County. Reedville, a town of approximately 500, was once known as the wealthiest town in the United States due to the large sums of money produced by the menhaden industry.

    Northumberland County has one stop light; in Callao an unincorporated town in the western section of the county. Callao is also the site of Northumberland’s only Virginia alcoholic beverage control store. The county does not have a fast food restaurant or a new car dealership.

    Chichester is a genius. He had to find a replacement for the menhaden once they were overfished (which has, by everybody’s account, happened). He could have tried to attract companies to build “electonical thing – a – ma -jigs”. Or, he could have stuck to agricaultiure and gotten people to grow servers (Isn’t that what a server farm does?).

    Or, he could just keeping finding ways to raise taxes since that accelerates the sucking of money gushing from NOVA to RoVA.

    Hey Chich, put another menhaden on the barbie!

  33. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    let me ask a question.

    The idea behind the SOQs is to help jurisdictions that are too POOR to pay for their own kids educations so the response is to take from other jurisdictions… right?

    Why are these places POOR to start with and is there a different/better path to help them become MORE ABLE to pay for the education of their kids?

    Careful on your answers.

    Consider.. the idea that some people and some localities may not be able to fend for themselves even with help.

    If you think some localities in terms of geography will never be able to become economically self-sufficient – what would be your answer different from the current method that folks say is wrong?

  34. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Agree! TMT drove that nail deep.

    If you live in NoVa and TW and you support higher taxes – you basically support giving some of it away to other jursidictions.

    This is why you folks should SUPPORT Regional Taxes with strong citizen/taxpayer controls on how the money is spent – to keep it out of the greedy whose main goal is life is to figure out how to get ahead by slurping off of taxpayer-provided infrastructure.

    This is WHAT you should ASK your elected reps AFTER you compute how much a million people in NoVa pay for a 10cent gas tax increase.

    Ask your elected HOW MUCH of this NoVa will get.

    Recommendation: For those elected who tap dance while they evade your questions… remember it in Nov.

  35. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry — Poor versus Rich is a bit too simplistic, IMO. Several years ago, as part of an effort to obtain better returns for Fairfax County on education aid, I looked at per capita real estate taxes as a percentage of average, adjusted gross income.

    What did I find? Some poor areas had relatively high real estate taxes, while others didn’t. Some richer areas had relatively high real estate taxes and others didn’t. I found my chart from 2001. Dickenson County’s (average AGI of c. $8200) per capita real estate taxes were 3.51% of average AGI. Fairfax County’s figure for the same time was 3.26%. But Lunenburg County’s figure was 1.46% on a base of $10,200.

    One can make a strong argument that some Fairfax County tax dollars ought to help educate children in Dickenson County, but why the devil should we spend a dime to aid Lunenburg County, for example, when they won’t make any effort to tax themselves sufficiently to fund their own schools? If Dickenson County could levy a rate equal to 3.52% of average AGI, why can’t Lunenburg?

    All it takes is data from UVA, the Bureau of the Census, a spreadsheet and about an hour or so of time. I suspect that more current data would produce similar results.

  36. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    TMT – I agree completely.

    The allocation formula is a hammer when a variable speed drill is needed.

    It needs to be revisted to:

    1. – deal correctly with equity issues

    2. – alter it to adapt annually to specific benchmark condtions for each community so that communties that get “richer” and “poorer” are not penalized unfairly.

    JLARC does a lot of stuff like this. I haven’t check this specific subject but I note the maps links provided by NMM have JLARC credits on them.

    I don’t know why.. for the life of me – that the GA guys sometimes do ANYTHING but listen to JLARC.

    It’s like benign ignorance.

    and it’s our fault… we don’t hold our elected accountable and we don’t put forth challengers that challenge ON THE ISSUES.

    We actually to seem to prefer good looking shysters.

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