We’re Making Progress

The editorial writers at the Daily Press are sputtering mad about their precious tax increases going down to defeat:

You can talk about land use. You can talk about innovation. You can talk about privatization, creativity and reform. But at the end of the day, road improvements require money. Hard money. Unambiguous legal tender. Cash.

I’ve been tracking the DP transportation editorials for a long time and this is the first time I’ve seen the Peninsula pundits acknowledge that there were alternatives to raising taxes. Land use… Innovation… Privatization… Creativity… Reform… Those words have not been part of the pundits’ vocabulary throughout this debate.

It’s pretty clear that the DP scribblers don’t give much weight to those ideas, but at least they’ve been bludgeoned into conceding that those “anti-tax ideologues” in the House Republican caucus actually have ideas. No longer is it possible to portray the critics of Business As Usual — which include, by the way, the conservationist/ environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party — as drooling idiots bereft of thought.

That’s progress of a sort. Call me a dreamer, but I can always hope: Maybe the next step will be for the DP to engage those ideas rather than dismiss them out of hand, and to explain why they are not sufficient to address Virginia’s transportation challenges.

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3 responses to “We’re Making Progress”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    If one thinks that THE answer to Virginia’s transportation issues IS …MORE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE then yes… I would agree that we’re not going to put more asphalt down without more money.

    However, I think to presume that if the statement above is true that the ONLY way to do this is with increased taxes is at the least not considering any alternatives other than taxes.

    User fees – pricing roads the same way that we price other commodities such as electricity, movie theatre tickets, or airline tickets is just as valid as more taxes – and will generate just as much money or more than more taxes AND.. more importantly… the guy who lives in SW Va… is left alone to deal with the simple challenge of keeping the money who works so hard for.

    The other big advantage of user fees is that there is a quid pro quo connection between need and paying for that need – as opposed to collecting money from everyone then using a convoluted process that is not accountable for even simple things like cost-effectiveness and accountability.

    What we have in Virginia is a Transportation SLUSH FUND – controlled by folks who are.. unelected .. unaccountable .. and have virtually no concept of the connection between their salaries and the “customers” who pay those salaries.

    So.. I feel that what we have .. is advocates .. for the status quo .. who will probably admit that we do have a good system but fundamentally believe that it cannot be easily fixed and the easiest way to go forward is dump more money into it.

    Senator Chichester.. and his allies as much as admit this as well as the Daily Press and others.

    I find this unconscionable for ANY public official or for that matter anyone who starts off with “something must be done or else our economy will be badly hurt”…

    it would seem to be that EVERYTHING should be on the table if there really is a crisis of such proportions…..

    At the VERY LEAST – the Senate had a responsibility to honestly and objectively engage the issue – to embrace changes and to demonstrate to all that they acknowledged that reform is part and parcel of any solution where more tax money is involved.

    To throw down the “tax or else” gauntlet… does not cover them in glory any more than the “no new taxes no matter what” folks.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “who will probably admit that we do have a good system but”…

    oops… “will probably admit that we do NOT have a good system…..”

    “good” meaning a cost-effective needs-based approach… where performance is the criteria for judging effectiveness.

  3. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    No progress with the Washington Post — now or in the near-term future.

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