Virginia as a “Low Tax” State

It’s time to put to rest the notion that Virginia is a low-tax state, or even a moderate/low tax state. On page R8 of its June 11, 2007, “Economic Round Up,” the Wall Street Journal published a chart, “Feeding the Government”, that ranked “total local, state and federal tax burdens as a percentage of each state’s income.”

Virginia ranked 18th from the top — as in, 18th highest, not lowest. Virginia’s tax burden was a hair above the national average but higher than 32 other states. Our tax burden: 32.9 percent of total income. Connecticut had the highest with 38.3 percent, Oklahoma the lowest, with 27.8 percent.

We’re accustomed to seeing Virginia rank better in state rankings. That’s because most rankings compare total state and local government spending only. But here’s the problem: The federal tax code doesn’t adjust for cost of living. When states and regions have a high cost of living (as Northern Virginia does), its nominal wage levels tend to be higher. Given the highly progressive structure of the federal tax code, nominally affluent regions wind up paying higher taxes.

Insofar as state/local government policies create dysfunctional human settlement patterns, as they do in Northern Virginia, Virginia’s political economy is directly responsible for high living costs, and indirectly responsible for high tax rates. So, let’s stop the drivel about Virginia being a “low tax” state, and get on with the business of cutting the cost of government, reforming dysfunctional human settlement patterns, and making out tax burden less onerous.

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30 responses to “Virginia as a “Low Tax” State”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Yeah…Va. is a great place!!! Not for retiring law enforcement officers. Virginia ranks 49th, right after Mississippi. Thanks RICHMOND. You folks have 40 Billion dollars in the state retirement fund and can pay 100% retirement and pay medical insurance, but noooo! Who you saving the money for? Whp gets appointed to the committee that decides where the retirement money gets invested? What kind of kickbacks do the committee members get for placing the retirees money? Why don’t the retirees get the money? Maybe the FBI should look into the kickbacks? What about all those trips to Vietnam several years ago that the committee took? Who paid for those? Who paid for the $200 a shot Johnnie Walker Blue scotch that the committee members were swilling?

  2. Jerry Fuhrman Avatar
    Jerry Fuhrman

    Fascinating. How did I miss this? I need to go through my back issues of the WSJ and get my hands on this study.

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Wait a minute now.

    If you believe EMR, the cost of living is high because prices are driven up by what the market demands.

    What’s dysfunctional about that?

    It isn’t the state’s fault that they have been so successful that the Feds want a piece of the action. How can yo blame the state for being a high tax place and at the same time say itis a high tax place because of the Fed?


    You lost me here.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    The federal rate is a direct results of how affluent the Northern Part of Virginia is

    The only way to lower tax rate is to go to a flat tax (which I support)

    Otherwise how would we “fix” this issue. The only alternative is having a less robust economy and lower income.

    You could always move to Oklahoma :-p


  5. Bill Kuster Avatar
    Bill Kuster

    such B.S.

    We have a higher Federal Tax burden because incomes are so high here relatively. Without taking Federal taxes into account, we remain a low tax state:

    During the past three decades Virginia’s state and local tax burden has consistently ranked below the national average. Estimated at 10.2% of income, Virginia’s state/local tax burden percentage ranks 33rd highest in the nation, below the national average of 11.0%. Virginians pay $4,460 per capita in state and local taxes, and per capita state income is $43,710. April 16,2007

  6. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon


    Prices are a function not only of demand but supply. All other things being equal on the demand side, if certain components of the price index — most notably housing — are supply-restricted, prices will be higher. It’s as simple as that… unless you’re in the mood to turn the entire discipline of economics on its head and reinvent how supply and demand work.

    NMM, Yes, NoVa is the most affluent part of the state. But adjusting for cost of living differences, the affluence gap closes to some degree. Adjust for disposable (after tax) income and the affluence gap closes even more. NoVa is, without question, the most affluent region in Virginia, but not by the margin commonly assumed.

    Bill Kuster, I explicitly acknowledged in my post that in rankings of state/local taxes Virginia fares better than in the WSJ listing of all taxes. But limiting the tax comparisons to state/local taxes only is artificial and deceptive. State/local policies have enormous impact on the cost of living in a region, and the cost of living is one major driver of the prevailing wage level.

    There are other factors obviously, including the demand for labor, the skill/education mix, the industry mix. But employers, to recruit the kind of employees they need, must offer wages that are competitive on a cost of living-adjusted basis with other regions.

  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    I’m still trying to reconcile:

    “It’s time to put to rest the notion that Virginia is a low-tax state, or even a moderate/low tax state.”

    with … “… Virginia’s state/local tax burden percentage ranks 33rd highest in the nation, below the national average of 11.0%”

    and then… “…So, let’s stop the drivel about Virginia being a “low tax” state, and get on with the business of cutting the cost of government, reforming dysfunctional human settlement patterns, and making out tax burden less onerous.”

    This sounds a lot like deja vu from the General Assembly debates about taxes..

    I think taxes are too high and money wasted but geeeze.. can we all start out agreeing what the facts are?

  8. Anonymous Avatar


    I’m right there with you. But the truth is we will never agree to a set of facts on this one – such a consensus would take the legs out of one side of the argument.

    What I get from the original post is:

    1. When it comes to state and local taxes, Virginia is fairly low tax.

    2. When you factor in federal taxes, which more aggresively penalize the higher wages that many Virginians earn, suddenly the tax burden on Virginians is fairly high.

    3. Despite the fact that the federal government is responsible for that higher tax burden, let’s complain about the state and local tax obligations.

    It seems to me that if the federal government were able to operate with the same efficiency as Virginia’s local and state governments, we would all be better off.

    So the question is: What are Virginia’s congressional representatives doing to fix it? Neither the Ds nor the Rs we send to Washington seem to be accomplishing much.

    But it must not really bother most people. Go look at how many people turn out to vote in Virginia’s federal election and you will see that apathy wins every time.

    I don’t believe that our state and local governments are pefect. If you look closely enough, you will things that can and should be run better. But for the most part, I believe they are setting tax rates that cover the nuts and bolts of daily living in our society.

    It’s at the federal level where “bridges to nowhere,” controversial art grants, war spending, farm subsidies to non-farmers, etc. are the norm. That, my friends is the beast that threatens us, the beast that must be brought to heal before any tax burdens can really be changed.

    -Short Pump Moderate

  9. Groveton Avatar

    I see Mr. Bacon’s overall point on this topic but believe he has geotten the causality wrong.

    Let me start by taking the perilous step of restating what I believe Mr. Bacon is saying in my own words. I am sure he will correct me if I have his argument wrong.

    1. The total tax burden from any state is a combination of local and state taxes plus the effect on federal taxes caused by actions taken by the localities in the state and the state ityself.

    2. Most computations of the tax burden in Virginia fail to include a calculation for the impact on federal taxes that is caused by actions taken by localities and the state. Therefore, these calculations are incomplete.

    3. In Northern Virginia, dysfunctional human settlement patterns have been caused by dysfunctional zoning laws. This combination of dysfunction has created a housing shortage.

    4. The housing shortage in Northern Virginia has driven up the cost of living which, in turn, has driven up the wages that employers have to pay their employees.

    5. The high wages paid to workers in Northern Virginia (in part caused by dysfunctional local political decisions) put Northern Virginians into high tax brackets in the Federal government’s graduated tax system.

    6. If there were functional local zoning laws then there would be more housing and a lower cost of living. Employers would be able to pay less in wages and the citizens of Northern Virginia would “slide down” the Federal tax system’s graduated tax rates. This would result in Northern Virginians enjoying a lower tax total tax burden due to local / state actions even though the lowering of that tax burden would be expressed in the form of lower federal (rather than local or state) taxes.

    If I undertstand Mr. Bacon’s argument correctly then I am with him right up to the point that it’s the housing shortage that causes the higher wages. That’s where I diverge.

    I believe it is the higher wages that cause the housing shortage.

    Here’s a quick summary of how I see the same argument:

    1. The constant growth of the federal government in Washington, DC created jobs which were attractive to many people.

    2. People moved from many parts of the country to take the jobs that were being generated by the increasing size and scope of the federal government.

    3. A lot of federal jobs were “white collar” and/or technical in nature. The DoD, the CIA and other agencies sought to employ very well educated people and these people came to the Washington, DC area.

    4. In time, some of the well educated people who mover to the Washington area to take federal jobs left the government and went into private enterprise. Some started companies, some joined companies already in business. Many stayed in the Washington area because that’s where families lived, that’s where their kids went to school and that where they found non-federal employment.

    5. Eventually, the Washington are developed a second economy in addition to the economy directly supporting the federal government. Bio-technology in Maryland (a logical offshoot of the NIH) and telecommunications in Northern Virginia (a logical offshoot of the DoD).

    6. The economic prosperity of Northern Virginia continued for years and people found that they had more disposable income because of the sound “pro growth” economic policies of Northern Virginia. However, to be clear, these “pro growth” economic policies required the federal government’s presence in Washington to be possible. Northern Virginia just “bit and bullet” and accepted the pains that go with growth in order to get the growth.

    7. People with more disposable income exhibit a consistent change in their preference for housing. Namely, they want to live in low density dwellings. I know this is a generalization but I believe it is statistically correct. While some people want to live in townhomes in Georgetown most want to live in single family homes on large lots in the suburbs. This same pattern of preference has been exhibited in all US geographies where siposable income has risen faster than GDP growth – Silicon Valley and Austin, TX to name just two.

    8. The supposed housing shortage is really a shortage of the type of housing that people with higher disposable income prefer. There are plenty of townhomes and apartments in Fairfax County (and elsewhere in the DC area) sepite what yesterday’s WaPo article and related BaconsRebellion article implied. However, people with increasing levels of disposable income generally don’t want to live in apartments, condos or townhomes. Therein lies the problem.

    9. The ability to change people’s preference for low density dwelling is daunting. Many already drive for hours to and from work to get to their “suburban paradise”. They drive by countless apartments, condos townhomes and small lot single family homes on their commute. Why? Because they can afford to buy low density housing but only in outlying areas. And because they want to live in low density housing – whether the people on this board think they should want that or not.

    10. It would be nice to believe that some straightforward changes to zoning laws in the Northern Virginia suburbs will make a material difference in the “patterns of human settlement”. This is possible but only if the zoning laws force people to live in housing configurations that they don’t really want – even though those same people can afford to live the way they do want.

    I believe that the free market is working just fine with respect to housing in Northern Virginia. However, the free market often makes good short term decisions which create painful long term consequences. For example, the free market bid up technology stock through early 2000. People who bought them felt very rich through the Spring of 2000. Then, the bottom fell out and many lives were disrupted. Should the government have stepped in and prhibited people from buying the stocks they thought they wanted?

    Maybe – but if you believe that you are a RINO at best and, more likely, a liberal Democrat.

    The good news is that “sururban sprawl” is a national issue (to the extent it really is an issue). Maybe there needs to be national planning and legislation. And that would create … more jobs in Northern Virginia!

  10. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Groveton, You gave a fair and accurate summary of my logic.

    I agree with your logic up to points 7 and 8. You suggest that the housing shortage is mainly a upper-income phenomenon. How, then, do you explain the continual cry about the lack of “workforce housing” for teachers, police and firefighters, etc., and how do you explain the illegal boarding room phenomenon? Clearly, the issue of affordable housing cuts across income brackets.

    (One note: When I refer to “affordable” housing, I use that as short-hand for “affordable and accessible” housing. There *is* affordable housing in the Washington New Urban Region — it’s just in the wrong places. Typically, affordable housing is located on the urban periphery where developers face fewer zoning restrictions. The trouble is, such housing is located considerable distances from the jobs closer to the urban core, thus it requires long, expensive commutes. In that sense, such housing is not “accessible.” To some extent, lower-income workers trade mortgage costs to the cost of operating automobiles. They also “pay” for affordable housing with their time. Thus, it is largely meaningless to talk about affordability in the Washington New Urban Region, or any other, without also talking about accessibility.)

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Whatever…isn’t the real point that we are paying 1/3 of our hard earned incomes to the government and we’re arguing about housing and wages?

    What am I missing? We have become a nation of people that are content with giving away 1/3 of our income, and we have large quantities of people who believe that 1/3 isn’t enough! Unreal.

    Maybe wage and housing problems wouldn’t be so severe if we were allowed to keep more of what we earn.

    Just a thought. A simple thought maybe, but a thought.

  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’m not far from Groveton nor JB’s general views.

    But NoVa’s “affordable housing” whether one thinks of this as shorthand for workforce housing or shorthand for those well-salaried in search of low-density housing

    .. NoVa is not unique..

    therefore … what Virginia and NoVa does or does not do… means, at least in my mind, might not result in significant differences in the outcome…

    .. unless Va/NoVa itself does something very different from other areas.. that, in turn, has a very different outcome.

    .. and given the fact that this issue is fairly uniform in it’s manifestations… across most of our urban areas – regardless of the differences in “tax bite” .. AND zoning regs..

    .. is it fair to ask the question to wit – do we really believe that Virginia/NoVa’s tax situation and zoning traditions are the fault/root cause of the dysnfunctional settlement patterns and affordable housing problems?

    I think Va/Nova has the OPPORTUNITY to demonstrate some leadership in chipping away at the problem.. but would have to work hard to overcome the “business-as-usual”.. “don’t mess with the status quo” folks…

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    Excellent points all around

    The reason why NoVa is so complex is simply the Federal Government and the contractors associated with it

    In a normal area businesses would begin to relocate as the NoVa area has gotten more expensive.

    The feds aren’t moving and neither are the contractors

    Now if telecommuting really takes off then we will have a free market again and people and some businesses will leave the area for cheaper places elsewhere. Until that occurs on a larger scale the free market system is broken and all of the various theories posted here which would work in any other normal area fall apart

    HR/TW have a similar effect with the military

    There is propably an area of the country or internationally that has adjusted to having a large government/military presence in the immeidate vicinty while keeping costs of living more reasonable for lessons learned. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any. I can think of Orlando and San Diego which have similar problems that we have.

  14. Groveton Avatar


    Housing issues in Northern Virginia definite cross all (but the top) income levels.

    I personally believe (but cannot prove) that NOVA civil servants have not economically kept pace with rest of NOVA. Therefore, they have gotten relatively poorer. Since the best housing goes to those with the most money – the civil servants are losing ground vs. average.

    Accessibility is a huge issue. The types of civil servants you mentioned – police, fire, teachers – must physically report to work each day. Much less potential to telecommute. Same issues for many military people. No near term solution other than to pay them more.

    Illegal borders more an example of entrepreneurship than anything else.

  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I know that the Fed Gov has a lot to do with NoVa and the WashMetro Region but if one travels to other urbanized metro areas – their economies are just as strong even though they are not based on the Feds

    and so .. I have my doubts that one could look at say NoVa’s “restrictive” zoning or Virginia’s “onerous” taxation as a cause of something that looks very similiar in other urbanized areas

    I recently spent two lovely hours in Charlotte rush hour traffic and as far as I know.. the Feds and their contractors are not their economy… and as far as I know Charlottes zoning laws and North Carolina taxes are much different than NoVas – and yet Charlotte looks a LOT like NoVa at rush hour – both equally obnoxious.

    I don’t think we approach the issues in NoVa ..correctly .. if we convince ourselves that NoVas problems are … unique .. when they are not.

  16. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    The VASTATS website has some pretty interesting information. For instance, they list the revenue capacity of each city and county. This the the expected amount of local taxes per capita that can be collected if each government drew the Virginia average from each source.

    They also list each year’s actual collection and population.


    Fairfax Revenue capacity $2920.

    Total taxes in 2005: 2,746,242,985.

    Population: 1,010,000.

    Actual tax per capita: $2719

    That’s well within the expected capacity.

    Other areas up north;

    Loudin: RC: 2854 Actual: 2851
    PWC: RC: 1915 Actual: 1965
    Winchester: RC: 1968 Actual: 2094
    Manassas: RC 1797 Actual: 2174

    What about the rest of the state?

    Danville: RC 907 Actual 1170
    Covington: RC 1069 Actual 2027

    Hampton Roads:

    Chesapeake: RC 1317 Actual 1784
    Hampton: RC 912 Actual 1924
    Norfolk: RC 961 Actual 1782
    VA Beach RC 1427 Actual 1739

    Now I’m no economist, but what these numbers tell me is there is a large amount of discretionary income that is being siphoned away to pay for government’s wants and needs instead of being devoted to regional growth. NOVA is the lone exception. What happens when the regional taxes get thrown on top of this?

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    what does it mean when the revenue capacity is less than the actual per capita taxes?

    also.. is there a reference that defines how revenue capacity is determined?

  18. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    What happens when any capacity is exceeded? The difference must be made up somehow. In this case it’s more money out of someones pocket. Money that could be used to buy things or invest in a business. Which serves to explain why a locality such as HR exhibits slow or stagnent economic growth compared to the illusion of prosperity.

    The other thing to remember is that these numbers don’t include state funds like the income tax. That is a separate issue, but the commonly held belief that rural areas are taking all of NOVAs money isnt’ entirely accurate. About 2 billion comes down here for schools and other state funded operations.

    People think we are wealthy like NOVA, but the region is more like rural VA on steroids.

  19. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Another way to look at the situation is something else I came up with.

    NOVA’s local taxes make up around 77 percent of their total needs. In other words you typically get state aid for 23 percent.

    Down here in Tidewater, local funds only cover an average of 53 percent of the total. The rest comes from the state. You guys…

    Doesn’t that pretty well match what everyone is stirred up about up yonder? The numbers must be good.

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Thanks for the links…

    they track down to:

    1Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Measuring the
    Fiscal Capacity and Effort of State and Local Areas, Report M-58
    (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971).

    2John L. Knapp and Philip J. Grossman, Virginia Issues: State Aid to
    Local Governments (Charlottesville: Institute of Government and Tayloe
    Murphy Institute, University of Virginia, 1979), pp. 18-19.

    3Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, State Mandates on
    Local Governments and Local Financial Resources, pp. 69-70; and Joint
    Legislative Audit and Review Commission, Local Fiscal Stress and State Aid,
    pp. 11-15.

    All 3 can be found via GOOGLE

    JLARC has them listed (identified) but not available.

    The first one.. is apparently a large file that I’m not having much success at downloading.

    But the implication that all localities included NoVa are net recipients of state aid cannot be true so it boils down to how much of the taxes that the state derived from a locality – were returned to the locality.

    This might be the document that Groveton and others have been looking for that reveals just how much of state-collected NoVa taxes does not go back to NoVa.

  21. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    Per Capita State and Local Revenue $7,240 35 out of 50 states

    7. State and Local Revenue as a Percent of
    Personal Income 20.3% 47

    8. Per Capita State Revenue $4,777 37

    9. Per Capita Local Revenue $3,575 27

    10. Per Capita State & Local Taxes $3,342 23

  22. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “Down here in Tidewater, local funds only cover an average of 53 percent of the total. The rest comes from the state. You guys…”

    this ties back tot the argument the residential does not pay. Basically, they take the county expenditures and divide it by the number of houses to figure out what each house would have to pay in order tocover the bills. Then they figure out how large a house would have to be in order to pay that much.

    The answer turns out to be something like three times what an average house in the county is actually worth.

    This isn’t too surprising when you figure that real estate taxes are only about a third of the budget. The rest comes from other local sources, and a hefty piece is “from” the state.

    The implication that all localities included NoVa are net recipients of state aid cannot be true: and neither is the implication that all residential units are net recipients of local aid.

    Once again we come down to Deena’s question about who is really paying for what, and for the benefit of whom.

    AFTER you answer tose questions with sufficient evidence that all can agree to the basic facts, THEN we can talk about “user pays”.

    Assuming the user has anything to pay with.

  23. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    not being to figure out the more complex of “user pays” arrangements should not preclude us from doing it at all – especially for the items that can be easily figured out.

    I cite water/sewer as on of the easier ones to determine appropropriate “user-pays” cost schedules and I would further posit that if one adopted the idea that because some were more difficult to figure out than we should not have any “user pays” until we figure everything out…

    well… why don’t we start “undoing” the water/sewer model and just have everyone pay for it and everyone have access to it – as a right – no matter where they buy a lot to live on.

    Fair enough?

    Moral of the story: all or nothing logic is not a good way to do public policy and a public policy of “everyone pays so everyone gets” would do one thing very well – it would bankrupt almost everyone because the only way to pay for that unbounded model would be to keep raising taxes to keep up with demands.

    I’m quite sure we can do better..


  24. Anonymous Avatar

    Thats very interesting to see the disparity between NoVa and HR/TW

    I can see now why the regional transportation authority faced a tougher battle in HR/TW because you guys basically break even on state transportation funding

    where NoVa does not get its fair share back so it makes sense for us to tax ourseleves and keep the money we collect.

    Am I correct in assuming that DoD is the only thing really going in HR/TW. Do you have another primary job creator?


  25. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “not being to figure out the more complex of “user pays” arrangements should not preclude us from doing it at all – especially for the items that can be easily figured out.”

    I don’t disagree with that, with the caveat that if it is easily figured out, you probably haven’t looked close enough.

    I was merely pointing out that the idea that all localities cannot be net beneficiaries is an obvious truth and that the mathematical logic could equally apply to many other areas.

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    ..”all localities cannot be net beneficiaries is an obvious truth and that the mathematical logic could equally apply to many other areas.”

    we agree!

    Behind the scenes – the state has calculated per capita revenue capacity and has used this info to decide what localities are net donors and which will be net benificiaries.

    I thought there would be more thoughts from folks on this concept – as the state basically takes it’s cut across the board from every locality – and then uses the “revenue capacity” to determine how to allocate those funds.

    I have no clue if this is something done for the other 49 states…

    furthermore – I have no clue how our own elected in Va – Dems and Repubs.. “fully-fund schoolers” or the “no new taxers” feel about this.

    Isn’t it amazing that the ONLY place that one really hears about this – is NOT from your elected reps but on the BLOGs?

    So your own elected .. are basically MUM … at least the one’s I now are..

    so.. at the end of the day… I do wonder .. what effect the new taxes from the two transportation authorities will have on “revenue capacity” with respect to NoVa and TW/HR.

    Will it result is the state determining that with the increased Regional taxes that will be “less revenue capacity” or will it be that the state will decide that they need to “adjust” the concept so that they continue to net whatever extra dollars they are used to getting from NoVa?

    I wonder what the elected NoVa reps might tell their constituents with respect to this idea.

    Finally – if NoVa folks are expected to pay for not only their schools and roads but other places in Va and that, in turn, causes many workers in NoVa to seek cheaper housing (and taxes) outside of NoVa and become long-distance commuters … clogging highways, etc… is that outcome .. an acceptable one from a state policy viewpoint?

    it must be – because HOT lanes are in the batter box.. next.

  27. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    “Am I correct in assuming that DoD is the only thing really going in HR/TW. Do you have another primary job creator? “

    Well there are the ports. But the real money comes from the military. If their budget goes down, then the economy goes down.

    Which should have been a reality check for the politicians had Oceana been BRACed. But they were secretly hoping the thing would go away, so they could develop without worrying about noise and crash zones.

    Growth here doesn’t mean what it does up north. Here it means building more houses, not creating better jobs. But the golden goose will fly the coop one day. The military is looking at how their forces are situated, and there are plenty of indications that a restructure could hit this area hard.

    The good news is that the roads wouldn’t have congestion.

    Looks like my little post on revenue capacity has opened some eyes. My whole objective to the HRTA debate has been based on a simple fact. If people are overtaxed now, as you have seen, what will happen to the regional economy when this stuff totally kicks in? The demographics here are beginning to resemble WVa. Young folks head out for better jobs, leaving behind the older folks. At least up in hillbilly land the newly retired can return and actually afford to buy a place. Down here? Once they are gone they probably won’t be coming back. Fixed incomes and high costs of living don’t mix well.

  28. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Oh, I left out the part about cities soon having to pay for their own roads. Some politicians have said the current ratio wouldn’t change. What they didn’t say was that the cities would receive the same amount of money.

    If the ratio stays the same, but the number of road miles goes down, what happens to the money? Basic math, yes? Then why would cities think they will get the same as before? Wasn’t the state’s objective to decrease the maintenance costs they pay? Stand by for more local tax increases to add to the misery.

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: leaving the regions with new transportation authorities to their own devices

    I can see this happening… except for the interstates which VDOT and the Feds (FHWA) have a legitimate interest in NOT letting a locality/region do things land-use wise that would compromise (further) the original design-purpose of the interstates.

    FHWA’s main weapon in this regard is their policy to limit/not allow new interchanges if the mainline is already maxed.

    I continue to point out that now – both NoVa and TR/HR have control of BOTH land-use and transportation and that there no longer can be excuses that approval of a project is a separate deal from the traffic it will generate.

    Both sides of that equation now lie in the hands of the jurisdiction and the region.

    If you want to approve a huge new multi-use – you can no longer blame VDOT for not responding with the needed infrastructure.

    The process was a scam.

    Local officials would approve the developments and tell the public that improvements were part of the plan …

    and VDOT would dutifully put the needed improvements on a wish list – that was 20-30 years “deep” in terms of getting done.

    and local government would go back to the people and say: “it’s not our fault that VDOT is so inept” that they can’t do improvements in a timely manner.

    Now – this is no VDOT to blame.

  30. Anonymous Avatar

    Instead of VDOT its the Regional Government.

    methinks some of the build till it bleeds low tax wing of the Republican party will just substitute the language


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