Willing to Pay Surcharge to Support Schools
As a former board member with four kids well served by our schools, I believe we should strongly support our schools. I’m even willing to pay a tax surcharge to preserve City services. Despite that, I find the recent calls for the school board to avoid budget cuts disappointing.
This is our biggest crisis in decades. Rather than seek a bigger share of the pie for one citizen group or the other, let’s pull together for the good of the community. This is a time for reason and compassion, not grabbing resources. To survive as a City, without gutting services and/or school quality, and with humanity for City and school staff as well as taxpayers will take all the wisdom and soul searching our Council, School Board, and administrators can muster. Pressure that pits the schools against the police, the fire department and our environment can only be counter-productive.
F.C. City’s Budget Soared Since 2002
One way to view the Falls Church budget is to look back a few years. The FY 2002 expenditures were $43.4 million and Falls Church was not a third world territory. By 2008, expenditures had ballooned to $65.4 million, a 51% increase. Instead of using the seven fat years to save for the future, the extra money has been spent.
The expenditures of the city of Bristol, Va. only increased 22% over the same time and their budget is nearly as large as Falls Church — $63.1 million. Norton only grew by 10%, about inflation. So there are fiscally responsible city governments to serve as models for Falls Church.
To balance the budget, Falls Church might start with the 2002 budget, $43 million and add back meat and vegetables and leave off the fat. If Falls Church had been prudent, the budget would now be about $53 million and there would be $37 million saved, almost a year’s worth, for the seven lean years.
Truck Traffic Irks Hillwood Ave. Residents
The residents living along Hillwood Avenue are seriously concerned about significant, continuing and unsustainable increase in recent years of truck traffic on the street. Long-time residents say that the increase has been particularly marked in the past two years. In addition to regular truck traffic, there has been a particularly noticeable upsurge in the use by heavy duty trucks, some 80 of which currently use Hillwood on a daily basis.
The truck traffic starts at 5:30 a.m. and continues until late at night. Frequently, the trucks race thru the neighborhood in the middle of the night with no traffic or police patrol to slow them down. Although the speed limit is 25 mph few, if any, of these trucks obey the law. A very sporadic enforcement of the speed limit appears to have had no deterrent effect. In particular, the section of Hillwood between Annandale and Cherry seems to encourage speeding as it is wide, lacks the traffic islands found after Cherry and has neither stop signs nor traffic signals that would serve to slow traffic in general and these heavy trucks in particular. We have witnessed trucks traveling at rates of speed that appear in excess of 60 mph.
The increase in traffic, in particular truck traffic, poses a serious safety issue, especially for children in this neighborhood of single family homes and townhouses, who often ride their bikes and play in close proximity to the street.
Moreover, there are several Falls Church City school bus stops on Hillwood, and there have been daily incidents of trucks and other vehicles failing to stop for the buses. Fortunately, there have as yet been no injuries but it seems only a question of time before something tragic happens, especially given how long it takes an 18-wheeler to brake at even relatively modest speed.
In order to slow traffic in general and reduce the use of Hillwood by heavy trucks we, the residents of this neighborhood, respectfully discussed the issue and requested the City impose a weight and/or wheel restriction limiting truck access to the street. We hope this measure will restore peace and quiet to our neighborhood and will help deter potential accidents.
Stop Giveaways to Lure Big Boys to N. Va.
Fairfax EDA- Tell me more…
When Jerry Gordon said that good schools were the number one reason businesses located to Fairfax County, he should think about that some more. If that is indeed true, then why are we taxpayers losing out on all sorts of revenue paying for these businesses to locate here? Truth is, they were going to do it anyway.
The point is this- we are facing a budget shortfall and talking about cutting school funding among other horrible ideas. Instead, why not stop the ridiculous taxpayer giveaway to Hilton, Northrup and others who are taking our money? Some of the tax breaks for businesses we pay for are absurd and wasteful if the aforementioned number one reason is to be accepted- which it should be.
If you don’t think my reasoning adds up, I encourage you, and especially EDA and Fairfax County officials to check out a great book- The Great American Jobs Scam. I read this book years ago and the article reminded me of this taxpayer abuse.
The EDA lacks transparency. I can’t locate the budget or salary information for EDA. I think we all deserve to know if we are paying for it. Perhaps your paper could do some investigative reporting around the EDA. Thanks and Jerry, don’t be concerned about a decrease in outsourcing from the Fed; the Fed jobs pay better salaries for support workers and those dollars are spent in our community anyway fueling greater small business growth and more sales tax receipts. The Federal Government isn’t a bad guy- just misunderstood by some.
Stop Giveaways to Lure Big Boys to N. Va.
Concerning Nicholas Benton’s column last week, for someone who owns his own business, he shows little understanding of economics.
The “class warfare” he describes as going on in this country is of little importance. The real “class warfare” is between the developed countries like the U.S., and the third world, particularly China.
With a billion peasants living on a dollar a day and eager to work in a factory for a dollar an hour, China has already taken millions of jobs from us and other countries and will continue to do so because their labor is cheap and plentiful.
The “class warfare” is just poor people competing against us for jobs. With the cost of shipping goods being low, jobs will flow to where the labor costs are lower.
As long as China was a rigidly Communist economy we had little to fear from it economically. In fact, China is an example of the masses overthrowing the ruling elite that Benton seems to endorse for this country. The result for several decades was a poor and oppressed country where millions were starved or imprisoned.
Only in the last three decades as the government relaxed control of the economy and let people start businesses has the country thrived. If you want the jobs to come back from China, stop buying cheap products from China and buy expensive products that were made here. Or hope that oil goes to $500 a barrel so that shipping becomes too expensive.
Via the Internet
‘New Deal’ Did Not End Great Depression
Maybe Nicholas Benton is too young, or was educated in pre-No Child Left Behind and post-knuckle rapping public education, i.e., during the era of don’t hurt a child’s self-esteem by giving them bad grades for not knowing stuff.
Regarding his last column, first, the Eisenhower Interstate System was as much the result of strategic military thinking as of perceived economic impact. Ike just could not sell it that way. Having seen Hitler’s Autobahn and felt the sting of its effective military use by the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe, he recognized its enormous military value in the Cold War. The demise of rail and rise of trucking (and “Greasy Mac’s, Berger King and Wendy’s) were unintended consequences.
Second, Benton is still mouthing the discredited notion that New Deal taxing and spending did anything other than make the Great Depression worse. Somehow, Benton, like President Obama wants to us to go over that “precipice” again. World War II, not the New Deal brought us out of the Depression. Unemployment went up, not down during the 1930s. Look it up.
Taking money out of the economy, especially by targeting venture capital, in order to spend it on make-work jobs produces a net economic loss. That approach is economically lethal during a recession. Only progressives and socialists still think that tax policy is a “zero-sum-game.”
I’d call it trickle-up economics.
Michael F. Johnson
Recalls How Bush Created Federal Deficit
In his exuberance over Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 8-Feb 3), Ed Hillegass threw out some budget numbers that bear only a glancing connection to reality.
He is correct that the last year’s federal deficit was $1.4 trillion. But he conveniently forgot that that the fiscal year began in Sept. 2008 – a time of fiscal and economic meltdown that ballooned the federal deficit to more than $1 trillion before President Obama even took office.
Let’s recall how we got to this point. President Bush entered office with a $230 billion surplus, which his administration squandered on two wars that were never paid for, a $1.3 trillion tax cut in 2001, another $1.5 trillion tax cut in 2003, and an unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit that the Bush administration claimed would cost $400 but is now projected at more than $1 trillion. All this was before the country suffered the worst fiscal crisis and economic recession in more than a quarter century.
In short, budget deficits exploded under an administration where Vice President Cheney could claim, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” – pushing tax cuts that slashed revenues but failed to deliver any kind of strong economic growth.
Mr. Hillegass wrote of the glorious weather as he savored Mr. Brown’s victory with “a clean, charismatic and simple campaign with an old GM pickup….” All I can add is: Have a nice day.
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