Henrico County... 400 years old and counting... with a mindset to match.
Henrico County… 400 years old and counting… with a mindset to match.

by James A. Bacon

Even to those who know him and love him, Sidney Gunst is a wild man. Friends never know what cause he will embrace next and pursue with his trademark (as in, monomaniacal) enthusiasm. Luckily for the taxpayers of Henrico County, he has embarked upon a crusade to block a proposal to institute a 4% meals tax that would raise an estimated $18 million a year.

Although Gunst is hardly alone in opposing the tax — local restaurateurs are none too happy with it either — his is the face of the resistance. The Innsbrook office park developer has galvanized opposition to a measure that the county political establishment and much of the business community have aligned themselves with. When civic groups hold debates on the tax, Gunst is the man they invite to represent the contras.

No one denies that Henrico faces major fiscal challenges. County officials are scrambling to find the funds to pay for massive unfunded pension liabilities, federal storm-water management mandates and soaring employee health care costs. And there is no question that county officials have taken extensive belt-tightening measures. The county is operating on less money than it spent six  years ago.

But Gunst is not satisfied. He doubts the tax will come close to addressing the county’s long-term fiscal challenges. The tax is a Band-Aid, a short-term palliative, a way for elected officials to kick the can down the road and avoid making the really tough decisions or engage in the creative thinking that Henrico County needs in order to transition to a 21st-century philosophy of governance.

Gunst make several compelling points.

First, Henrico’s vow to dedicate tax revenues for public schools and the teachers is a political gimmick. In January, county officials were positioning the tax as necessary for road maintenance. But the 2013 transportation funding bill provided millions in relief for Henrico, so the pols switched rationales. And what could be more mom-and-apple-pie than securing teacher pensions? That’s pure packaging. As Gunst explains, money is fungible. While the $18 million in meals tax revenue might be locked in for teacher pensions, there is nothing to prevent the Board of Supervisors from backing out all or part of the $18 million — a sliver of the half billion-dollar school budget — that it had been paying before!

Second, if taxes must be raised, then jack up the property tax instead. Imposing the meals tax is like shooting a fire-and-forget missile. It will be permanent and the board likely will not revisit the issue. By contrast, the board sets the property tax every year. A meals tax would allow the board to dodge yearly accountability. By nixing the tax, taxpayers can better hold supervisors’ feet to the fire on spending and budgeting decisions.

Which brings us to the third point. The Henrico board is stuck in a rut. Board members are old and out of ideas. Henrico mastered the art of 20th-century governance. By conventional standards, the administration runs a tight ship. But the real estate crash and 2007-2008 recession ushered in a new era of austerity. Americans cannot continue business as usual. If Henrico is to prosper in the years ahead, it must re-think fundamentals.

Gunst doesn’t pretend to have all the answers — right now he’s just trying to defeat the meals tax. But he does offer areas worth exploring. Schools account for more than half the county budget. Why can’t we do more for less? The nation is in the midst of an educational revolution, with Massively Open Online Courses, free online content like the Khan Academy and so much more, all transforming the way people learn. Instead of teaching the way we’ve always taught — with laptops replacing textbooks — let’s unleash teacher creativity to incorporating online resources into their pedagogy. The Henrico school system was one of the first in the country to buy laptops for every high school student. Let it be one of the first to tap the online revolution to transform the learning experience.

That’s just the beginning, says Gunst. Henrico needs to push for reforms to the Virginia Retirement System, accelerating the shift from a Defined Benefits plan to a Defined Contribution plan. The county needs to review its real estate portfolio and sell excess property. It should look for functions to outsource or privatize. And (most importantly, in my book) the county needs to broaden its tax base by encouraging re-development and infill at greater densities. Gunst has been a player in the plan to transform Henrico’s main business district, Innsbrook, by means of walkable, mixed-use development. Other parts of the county are well-suited to re-development as well, such as the area around the Staples Mill train station, the busiest Amtrak station in the Southeast.

There is no lack of opportunities, if only Henrico would grasp them. A meals tax would anesthetize the local politicos to the need for fundamental change. Come November, Henrico voters need to reject the meals tax and demand more from  their leaders.

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32 responses to “The Case Against the Meals Tax”

  1. Neil Haner Avatar
    Neil Haner

    “Gunst doesn’t pretend to have all the answers — right now he’s just trying to defeat the meals tax. But he does offer areas worth exploring.”

    I was always told not to come to the table with an opinion unless I was also coming with a solution.

    Great, he has suggested areas to explore. So… why doesn’t he explore them? And while he’s at it, put numbers with them, numbers that close budget shortfalls over the next 5 years or so (“Let’s raise the property tax instead!” okay… now by how much exactly?), and then get some of the affected parties (such as teachers, if he wants to make up the money in education funding cuts) on board with his ideas.

    The budget shortfalls are happening now, but some of his “suggestions” would have very long implementation timelines. Implementing MOOC’s is a fundamental change to teaching strategy that will take years to put into practice.

    Other ideas push responsibility to parties outside of Henrico, hoping they make choices that help the County’s coffers. Getting the GA to change VRS’s basic structure? “Encouraging” businesses to develop/relocate to the County? That’s not exactly a proactive approach.

    Lastly, you refer to the meals tax in the article as “a Band-Aid,” then suggest privatization and/or selling of County assets, as if that isn’t the ultimate “band-aid solution” to an organization’s financial woes?

    Always easy to say someone else’s idea is bad. A lot harder to offer a better one of your own. At least the meals tax proponents have put a hard number on the table and reconciled it with county budget requirements.

    1. Gee, Neil, you set a pretty high bar for a citizen, or group of citizens, to meet. The “meals tax proponents who have put a hard number on the table” to whom you refer consist of the county government, which has a few more resources at its disposable than individual citizens do to develop such proposals.

      By your standard, no one should ever oppose a tax increase, because people rarely have a specific set of alternatives to offer in its place.

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        But Neil’s point is well taken. AS always, your writing style is brilliant. However, I have to give you (or, perhaps I should say “Gunst”) a B or a B- for logic. Henrico practices austerity. It spends at a lower level than six years. Henrico faces a budget crunch. A meals tax is on the table. You make the logical point that a property tax is more accountable. But what does Gunst say? Unleash teacher creativity? OK. Won’t these new approaches cost more money before they save money? Don’t you have a budget problem NOW? Reform the VRS. OK. Maybe I am confused (quite possible) but isn’t that a state-wide matter. And, even if Henrico can change the retirement system it will take many years to pay off.

        I think the article mixes the short-term and the long-term in an illogical manner.

        Fix the short term problems in the short term. Then, develop a long term plan and stick to it. You’ll find the challenge is the lack of long term planning by government. And that’s where Gunst should come it. He’s an office park developer? I’ll guess that he has some cash. Maybe set up a small, non-profit organization to define and market the future of Henrico County. People say they want to “give back” to the communities where they made all their money. Great. One good way to give back is to fund an organization that can do intelligent long term planning.

        Just a thought.

      2. Neil Haner Avatar
        Neil Haner

        Jim – I’m as anti-spending as the next guy, and would LOVE Henrico (and most government bodies) to fix funding shortfalls by shrinking the budget, not raising taxes.

        I just find it to be a lot of hot air on Gunst’s part in this case. He’s grandstanding. I’m sure he’s right in that the Meal Tax probably isn’t the long term solution to Henrico’s money problems. But he could offer at least SOME sort of concrete alternative, I really don’t think that’s asking much.

        “By your standard, no one should ever oppose a tax increase, because people rarely have a specific set of alternatives to offer in its place.”

        Well, maybe we’d get more done if people were willing to do their homework, spend a little less time complaining and more time looking at the numbers, and come prepared with alternatives.

        Henrico’s budget is public knowledge. It’s projecting $270M in revenue from this year’s $0.87/$1,000 of assessed value real property tax (for comparison, Chesterfield is $0.95, Richmond is $1.20, and Hanover is $0.81/$1,000 of assessed value). Quick math says every penny you raise the rate, about $3M goes into the revenue stream. It’s not hard to say, “instead of raising $5M annually from a meals tax, let’s raise it by making the Real Property Tax $0.89/$1000.” Then let the public decide which is more palatable.

        Anyone can yell about a problem. I reserve my kudos for those who solve them.

  2. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    I agree with tenor of Jim’s article, and would add that:

    A meal tax is a far too easy way out for elected officials.

    People should not have to pay their government a tax to eat. It’s the most regressive tax imaginable. Next we’d be taxing air and sociability.

    The folks who work in restaurants all already taxed plenty, and they work to hard for their money to have local government use them as cash cows, to delay the hard and/or creative solutions our fiscal problems demand.

    We should thank our lucky stars that fellows like this guy Gunst is standing up and working hard. He’s strikes me as a great example of public service.

    1. Neil Haner Avatar
      Neil Haner

      “People should not have to pay their government a tax to eat.”

      Hope you know, your groceries are already taxed at 2.5%

      1. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        People should not pay a tax to eat in public.

        There are all kinds of taxes and government imposed taxes and costs build into food we buy – I got that.

        But solving local fiscal problems on people going out together to eat, and,

        Thereby reducing the tips they’re able to pay those who serve them, and,

        Thereby putting yet another tax on small entrepreneurs and those they employ, trying to run a most fragile and difficult small businesses, and

        Thereby attacking all the collateral sale’s tax spending and other benefits that results from such necessary and healthy activity that also injects life and vitality into our neighborhoods, friendships, and families (things like people meeting and breaking bread together, laughing and enjoying one another, making friends, finding mates, mentoring their children), while they are also spreading wealth by being out in their communities, instead of staying home staring at TV or a computer,

        Such a tax on All of This strikes me as bad policy, one that’s counter-productive and hurtful as well as a life and wealth destroying. Its a very regressive way to raise government revenues on the backs of citizens.

        1. larryg Avatar

          re: ” Such a tax on All of This strikes me as bad policy, one that’s counter-productive and hurtful as well as a life and wealth destroying. Its a very regressive way to raise government revenues on the backs of citizens.”

          I thought the meals tax required approval at referenda, no?

  3. Tom Bowden Avatar
    Tom Bowden

    Go Sidney!

  4. larryg Avatar

    Neil is correct. Bacon, a gifted writer I agree, hails from the “starve the beast” school of govt funding….

    no matter what the county budget is or the needs or even if it is spending less than before -never, never, never, ever let to institute a new tax!

    I agree with those who say bring solutions with your ideas.

    The “lets take an ax to govt – no matter the circumstances” is dumb as crap but highly in vogue these days with those who prefer sound-bite representations of reality.

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      Larry, have you every meet a tax, toll, or fee on people, you didn’t adore?

      1. larryg Avatar

        I hate taxes Reed but I hate neanderthal ideologues even more.

        what kind of highway system would we have if the no-tax folks got their way and we had no gas tax?

        what kind of schools would we have if we gutted the property tax that funded schools?

        what kind of water/sewer would we have if we did not send bill collectors after the scofflaws?

        Have the argument over what govt needs – what people say they want.

        if you say you don’t want/need police or fire service then fine, cut the taxes to get the savings.

        but don’t go cutting taxes then whine when fire stations go unmanned.

        we have an idiotic view on taxes and govt these days.

        I’m fine with people agreeing that services will be cut if taxes are cut but people want taxes cut and still have the roads plowed and bitterly complain about waste, fraud and abuse when the schools add fees for sports because that money was cut in the budget.

        we are the “dumb as crap” society when it comes to taxes these days.

        so NO, I do NOT ..LIKE Taxes.. but dumb as crap trumps it easily.

        1. reed fawell III Avatar
          reed fawell III

          In this society our leaders are far too prone to invent taxes, tolls, and fees to cover up their own chronic failure to make hard and creative decisions. The harm that results is enormous. And it grows every day. This proposed county tax on eating in public is a prime example.

          1. reed fawell III Avatar
            reed fawell III

            Henrico proposes, like so many local governments, taxes that inhibits their citizens opportunities for wealth and health creation.

            Instead they should spend their time, talents and monies by creating circumstances that encourage and benefit wealth and health creation. This is what real leaders do. The late Mayor Donald Schaefer of Baltimore Md exemplifies such real leadership.
            He removed obstacles and opens ways for great opportunity.

            So, these sort of leaders creates circumstances that build and encourage Connecticut Avenues that create wealth for cities instead of Wisconsin Avenues that suck wealth and opportunity out of neighborhoods. For details see this websites commentary to article entitled Demand Surges for Transit-Oriented Housing.

            Citizens should demand this sort of leadership from their leaders.

            Otherwise they will get every higher taxes and ever lower public services, and ever more obstacles to take control of their lives. Like taxes imposed on them for eating in public. A tax inhibits the opportunity that citizens can find in their community, it works against their livelihood, and it diminishes their chances for prosperity, and harms the quality of their lives.

          2. larryg Avatar

            I certainly think it’s a valid issue if it requires a referenda for approval and a valid issue at elections.

            I’ll repeat again – When I get my property tax bill – the months finances are not fun.

            We get to pay 1/2 every 6 months. whoppee!!!! it’s still a significant chunk of our month income.

            but what I’d hate almost as much – is seeing class sizes in K-3 start to go up or special-help reading teachers cut.

            We’ve already gone to pay-to-play for sports and have discontinued he “activity” buses.

            at some point – people decide the balance between taxes and services – and they do this by showing up at hearings and voting at elections and if not mistaken there has to be a referenda on the meals tax.

            I personally believe people prefer a meals tax over an increase in the property taxes and that’s especially true for country that abut interstates like I-95.

            Again, I do NOT..LIKE taxes – I resent them in many ways but at the same time we need decent roads and decent schools, fire and rescue and police service.

            If anything, I’d be OPPOSED to spending tax revenues on things like Smart Growth…

            or at least, I’d support referenda for such things.

            we have referenda in our county every few years to approve whether we care going to spend money on capital projects: public safety building, courts, schools, parks, even roads.

            Anyone who gets frustrated at Federal and state taxes and politics there-of should find local tax issues a lot easier to have your say in deciding.

          3. larryg Avatar

            re: ” Instead they should spend their time, talents and monies by creating circumstances that encourage and benefit wealth and health creation. This is what real leaders do. The late Mayor Donald Schaefer of Baltimore Md exemplifies such real leadership.”

            is there some linkage to taxes in particular here and Donald Schaefer and his leadership? Was he opposed to taxes? Did he get rid of taxes? Was he opposed to things like Meals taxes?

            “He removed obstacles and opens ways for great opportunity.”

            were those obstacles taxes? what were the obstacles that he removed?

            “So, these sort of leaders creates circumstances that build and encourage Connecticut Avenues that create wealth for cities instead of Wisconsin Avenues that suck wealth and opportunity out of neighborhoods. For details see this websites commentary to article entitled Demand Surges for Transit-Oriented Housing.”

            the two places you describe. Are they not under the same government?

            is the same govt incubated Connecticut the one that ruined Wisconsin?

            sometimes Reed, I do not see the clear linkage that you are asserting.

            I see a more generalized approach – like “govt is the enemy” ..ruined Wisconsin but left Connecticut alone so it prospered without govt.

            that kind of thing. is that what you are really saying?

  5. larryg Avatar

    I’ll make a proposal. Institute the tax but automatically sunset it and require that the next BOS has to re-vote it to keep it.

    That gives voters a benchmark to judge the current BOS – and their future challengers.

    If citizens in Va had the right to initiate referenda – they could do this themselves.

    we have to find a way to get the boo-birds of govt off their “we oppose everything” gridlock dime and move forward. We can and should make changes as we do move forward but to put sand in the gears on purpose to encourage govt to function badly needs to be recognized for what it really is – political vandalism.

  6. larryg Avatar

    yes…. ” Henrico supervisors seek meals tax referendum”

    must have missed that in Jim’s narrative….

    Now… should the Henrico BOS listen to Sidney Gunst and not bother
    to ask citizens what they think?

    Is having a referenda such a travesty of “leadership”?

    I see referenda as offering citizens the opportunity to decide rather than have someone like Sidney decide for them.

    I don’t see much wrong with having citizens decide.

  7. larryg Avatar

    One of the things that tweaks my curiosity is how does the General Assembly decide the criteria for requiring referenda for some taxes but not others?

    Why not, for instance, require referenda for property tax increases?

    Is that something that the BOS actually has the option of doing?

    anyone who knows… please educate us.

  8. Ghost of Ted Dalton Avatar
    Ghost of Ted Dalton

    What did Justice Holmes say? I like taxes because I like civilization.

    I’ll second that.

    People like Gunst simply don’t have a clue. They never offer constructive solutions. They just don’t want to pay taxes. But I’ll guarantee they want civilization that comes from a strong state rather than the weak state disasters that are evident around the globe…Somalia, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. Those are places that don’t like to pay taxes nor do they like strong governmental institutions….have fun in “paradise” Mr. Gunst….I’ll be glad to pay for your ticket to Mogadishu.

    1. larryg Avatar

      re: “I like taxes because I like civilization”

      indeed. the ideologues don’t want the taxes nor the regulation but they want the benefits both provide – they take the benefits for granted even as they advocate against the things that provide those benefits.

      yes – if they dislike it so much here – get your butt to Somalia or Yemen, Haiti, etc, and good riddance, don’t let the door whack you on the way out.

      Govt is US. We have taxes and regulation because a solid majority of US want them. We WANT public roads and schools, police, fire and EMS, laws against poisons in food and bad drugs.

      Does govt suck ? yes… big time… over and over with some seriously bad mistakes at times.

      alternatives? Benevolent dictators? Kings? a Libertarian world?

      nope. we have a Constitution. The forefathers had already seen the other 3 forms and picked a govt where people do vote on what they want or not.

      Here’s what Thomas Jefferson had to say about that:

      “The will of the people… is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” –Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waring, 1801. ME 10:236

      “The measures of the fair majority… ought always to be respected.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792. ME 8:397

      “I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law.” –Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793. ME 1:332

      so Mr. Gunst is sure enough entitled to his “free expression” but one vote.

    2. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      The wonderful nature of comments like this is that they so vividly illustrate that the writer (in this case the Ghost here) has not a clue as to what I am talking about – not a clue – clueless. Absolutely clueless, he cannot grasp that in fact I am saying precisely the reverse of what he thinks I am saying.

  9. Brian Glass Avatar
    Brian Glass

    I have read all of the comments noted above and will respond as follows:

    The Meals Tax Referendum will be on the ballot in November.
    The tax, if passed will also apply to prepared food such as a supermarket rotisserie chicken .
    The tax is being sold as a way to help the school system. The fact of the matter is that the money goes into the General Fund. There is no lock box .It comes in one pocket and goes out another.
    The Real Estate tax is tax deductible on federal and state income tax returns that are itemized. The meals tax isn’t. I did the math, and in spite of what the meals tax proponents say a six (6) cent increase in the Real Estate tax will NOT cost Henrico residents more than a meals tax.
    The Meals Tax is a “working person’s” tax. How many friends, or tradespeople do you know that eat lunch on the run many days of the week, and go to fast food restaurants, Sheets, 7-11 or WaWa? Why should they pay an extra 4% for their food?

    The last time the real estate tax was raised in Henrico County was 1978. That’s when interest rates were 18% and the economy was in a shambles. It has been reduced multiple time since, as economic conditions improved. The meals tax will not go away, or be reduced. You can take that to the bank. The Meals tax will simply be another tax that we will have to pay.

    I heard Sidney Gundst speak at the Henrico Business Leaders breakfast. He gave at least three areas where the County could save money. One was to sell the Belmont Golf Course, which loses money when capital improvements are included. A second area is the County Ambulance service, which is free. Many health plans cover this service but they aren’t billed. Sidney explained that the County should bill the insurance companies, and it would remain free for those that aren’t covered. We are talking about several million dollars a year that the County could recover on this one. A third idea was to privatize garbage collection. Henrico only covers 30% of the County now, so that shouldn’t be a major issue.
    Has anyone bothered to ask the Board of supervisors why they chose a Meals tax over an increase in the real estate tax? Let’s say for argument sake that the real estate tax was raised by six (6) cents, and the Board discovered that it wasn’t enought. They could always come back and say that we need the meals tax because the real estate tax wasn’t enough, but they aren’t doing that. Why not? The ups and downs of the real estate tax are tried and true. That’s how we have traditionally funded the school system. Why not give it a chance to work again?
    Please dig beneath the surface on this attemted tax increase. Question the motives and ask your Supervisors the tough questions. I spent 30 minutes on the phone with mine and , while he didn’t intend to, he convinced me that this tax is not in the common interest.

    1. larryg Avatar

      Are we saying that citizens should not be able to decide?

      some of this sounds like we not only don’t trust govt but we also don’t trust citizens ….

  10. larryg Avatar

    Reed – then you need to better explain what you are saying because I have a similar problem understanding what you are really saying.

    For myself… I think the tax conundrum needs to be tied to what services citizens want and what they are willing to forgo.

    and I’ll give a very specific example and that is the Va SOQs which define minimum funding levels for schools in Va that virtually all but a handful of counties not only exceed but by a significant amount.
    In most counties – the “extra” often amounts to a third or more – sometimes half of the total school funding for the county.

    We argue about class sizes but is the class size for Latin III the same importance as the class size for reading in 2nd grade?

    Are the coaches for high school sports the same importance as the Algebra teacher?

    why do we have high school baseball at the same time we have parks and rec baseball?

    what kind of fire/ems response time do you want – are you willing to pay for?

    how many police do you want (or not)?

    these are choices… for the people who pay taxes.

    govt should not be “deciding” for them. that’s not leadership. Leadership is making sure people have the information they need to make informed decisions.

  11. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    I am for strong effective government. I am for strong tax revenues to support strong and effective government. I am against this meal tax for numerous reasons stated above. One of those primary reasons is that such a meal tax will not increase revenues. Rather it will undermine those revenues, driving those revenues down, and do it in a way that is particularly harmful and unfair to working people and those small business that employ so many of them.

    Brian Glass – thank you for your highly informative comment.

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      PS – the health of our Government depends on the health and welfare of it working people and the small businesses they work for. This includes their ability to pay the tax revenues that government needs to best do its job.

  12. larryg Avatar

    re: ” I am for strong tax revenues to support strong and effective government.”

    Jeeze Reed… we agree… at least on that level.

    I’m conflicted by the meals tax and agree it tends to be come a built-in source of revenue – not unlike many other taxes like sales or others.

    If you really want to get a bee in your bonnet, you ought to look at the 911 fees in your phone bill… I think they are outrageous…. but well hidden.

    and I feel that the taxes on new cars is likewise ugly…and unwarranted and damages the new car business and nails people who thought they had counted their pennies in buying a new car only to be nailed at the closing.

    but it appears that most local govts try to keep their property taxes “lowish” by having these other taxes and I agree this can be sneaky…. but I also think – if folks think these taxes don’t actually pay for things they want – they’re mistaken.

    the ambulance fees… yes.. Spotsylvania does ‘revenue recovery” which bills every call and if the insurance does not pay – they have what they call “compassionate billing”… for those that can’t pay.

    There was a big “f”ing deal about this when it was first considered as there were concerns that people would not call 911 if they thought they would be billed. Some people said this was not necessarily bad… but others said older people on fixed incomes might not call when they should.

    but it passed – and I hate to tell you that it did not go into the general revenue fund but into the EMS fund where it was promptly abused…in myriad ways as a de-facto slush fund.

  13. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    The critical point here is that political leaders ought not spend their time trying to figure out new and hidden ways to tax citizens. Rather, they should spend far more of their time putting into place structures and conditions that expand the taxable base by offering citizens opportunity.

    If they do this successfully, they’ll expand tax revenues dramatically and, in so doing, gain the means to become even more effective at creating and maintaining the playing field on which citizens enjoy maximum opportunity.

    Hence my respect for good government. It’s a noble calling. I have seen such government in action in the real world. It deserves profound respect.

  14. larryg Avatar

    re: ” Rather, they should spend far more of their time putting into place structures and conditions that expand the taxable base by offering citizens opportunity.”

    how does this work?

    can you give me some concrete examples?

  15. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    For one example – Arlington County during last half of 1970s and all of 1980s.

  16. larryg Avatar

    no no Reed. SPECIFICS! ….” putting into place structures and conditions that expand the taxable base by offering citizens opportunity.”

    what are these structures and conditions that are better than taxes?

    is this something that government does or not that govt should do and in many/most cases does not?

    Is this something Henrico does not do that it ought to do instead of tax increases?

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