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My Governor the Socialist

September 2, 2012
By

An Introspective of GOP Virginia

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August 11th: Mitt Romney is introduced to a crowd in Norfolk by economic champion Bob McDonnell. McDonnell has been the GOP Governor of Virginia for two years and is held by most in the GOP as “the reason why Virginia has survived the recession so well”. Of course the GOP’s rationale for why Virginia’s Governor has been so successful has been deregulation, business friendliness, beneficial tax policies, and investment. They point to policies towards individuals from President Obama, call it wealth distribution, and demonize “big government”.

This has all been a facade. The GOP is whole heartily in favor of wealth distribution at all levels of government. Why else would net economic drains on our economy like Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Arkansas continue to be bastions of Republican power. More importantly, if someone actually does their homework, they can find out that our supposed capitalist Governor McDonnell, is in reality, a socialist.

For years Northern Virginia has been blamed for wasteful spending and scapegoated as funneling all of Virginia’s funds. This wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s Governors Robb and Wilder invested heavily on the future of Northern Virginia, understanding the unique growth potential as the economic engine of the state. Improvements such as transit funding, school investment, and infrastructure advances took what was an affluent sleeping community to DC, and turned it into an economic force which now competes on its own merit.

The slide to socialism began under Governor George Allen, who due to the changing demographics and political leaning of Northern Virginia, began the trend of defunding, or rather slowing the spending growth, of Northern Virginia. While asking Fairfax to do more with less, revenue from Fairfax was being sent to rural regions. The trends continued, and regrettably included both parties robbing the coffers of Northern Virginia to pay for obligations elsewhere. In the 1990s it is estimated that 55 cents on the dollar was returned to Northern Virginia from the State. In the 2000s this number sank to 25 cents on the dollar.

Today, under Governor McDonnell; Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William pay $5.74 billion towards general funds via individual incomes and corporate taxes. These jurisdictions also send $5.50 billion in payments to the State via non-general funds from sales taxes, car tax, and several other forms of user taxes. This totals $11.24 billion of revenue to Virginia from NOVA of the total $41.6 billion State revenue. It is immediately apparent per capita (1.8 million residents out of the 8.0 million Virginia, 22.5%) NOVA pays much more than the rest of Virginia (11.24 out of 41.6 billion, 27%). Revenue is only one part off the disparity.

The return on our payments is far more indicative of where Socialist party Governor McDonnell stands. The direct funding shows;

Jurisdiction Direct Funding From State
Fairfax $650 Million
Loudoun $331 Million
Prince William $474 Million
Alexandria $43.5 Million
Arlington $64.1 Million

The other largest expense of the State is the operation and capital projects from VDOT (who based on the GOP platform doesn’t actually “build” anything). Luckily, for data trackers, VDOT has a separated district specifically for NOVA, which includes the above jurisdictions. VDOT’s future funding shows approximately $100 million per year are anticipated in NOVA. Additionally, with 17,000 lane miles of road, maintenance of $20,000 per mile on average equals $340 million in operation costs in Northern Virginia. Lastly, VDOT operates toll systems in Northern Virginia, which accounts for more than half of the $350 million in statewide operations (approximately $200 million per year). In total VDOT’s funding of Northern Virginia comes to $640 million annually.

Summing all of these elements indicates Northern Virginia attains $2.2 billion in funding from Virginia annually.

Let’s pause here. NOVA sends $11.24 billion to Richmond; Richmond sends NOVA back $2.2 billion. Where does it all go? To projects in areas of the state that can’t sustain themselves economically; rural regions, Richmond, portions of south and central Virginia, for projects like the 460 truck highway or the Charlottesville bypass (something that is actually opposed by most C’Ville residents). We as NOVA residents get back 19 cents on the dollar. Let me put this in another way, WE GET BACK 19 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR from a governor who is “against” wealth distribution.

In the absence of assistance, or rather the out right robbery by our state, we have to turn our roads into private toll systems, indemnifying ourselves for a century to pay the whims of Fluor and MWAA. This year alone Virginia has gathered $500 million in surplus, which in a non-socialist government would be sent back to those who rightfully deserve it. We requested, or rather BEGGED, the state house for $150 million to create one of the most important transit projects on the east coast, Dulles Rail. We have no ability to create a very popular extension of the Orange Line, a metro line which is self-sustaining in revenue, and has created the powerful economy of Arlington. We have NO funding source for a much needed additional rail crossing and bridge crossing of the Potomac, which could connect our residents to DC, Bethesda, and Rockville where many jobs have been relocated due to BRAC.

If we had the $9.04 billion that disappears in Richmond every year we would be able to do all of these popular improvements AND more. We could connect our residents in ways they have never been connected, finally attaining high-speed travel corridors with multi-modal uses. We wouldn’t have to sell bonds or wait 10 years to expand or create new schools in our far over-capacity education facilities. We wouldn’t need to force our businesses to pay substantially higher tax rates in special districts to create infrastructure. Instead we would ACTUALLY be “business friendly”, encouraging innovation, by paying for these traditional public elements ourselves.

It is time for us to tell our Socialist Governor McDonnell, and the rest of the Statehouse cronies who have robbed from NOVA to pay for bad decisions in their constituents backyards, that enough is enough. 19 cents on the dollar is a theft. Scapegoating Northern Virginia as the problem is a travesty. We are the economic engine of Virginia, and it has been a long time since Richmond spent some money on maintaining us.

Sources

http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/budget/Documents/13BUD–05–Revenue%20Summary–00.pdf
http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ManagementAndFinance/budget/file84937.pdf
http://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/budget/info/budget2013/FY13%20Proposed%20Section%207%20Revenue%20Summaries(1).pdf
http://va-loudouncounty.civicplus.com/documents/45/2356/2366/2012%20Budget.PDF
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/fy2013/adopted/overview/10_budget_summary_new.pdf
http://www.virginiadot.org/news/resources/Statewide/sectran/Combined_Master_1-13-11_V10_SOT-No_Phase.pdf
http://www.fcta.org/fcta-news-feed/fairfaxcountysubsidizestherestofvirginia
http://www.governor.virginia.gov/utility/docs/2012-2014BiennialBudget_all.pdf
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8 Responses to My Governor the Socialist

  1. SilverLineRider2014 on September 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    It is absurd to think that with all the demands Virginia tells Northern Virginia about reining in our spending and that they hold a 500 million surplus, that this practice continues. 9 billion dollars is a lot of money to note be given every year. Even if it was an extra 1 billion per year this would go so far in paying for infrastructure and schools that are badly needed.

    How long does this have to go until Northern Virginia makes Richmond know we are serious and that we want change regardless of party? Both parties are to blame, and I dont even care about the politics of it. I dont care if an atheist anarchist is who will fix this situation, but it is ridiculous that it continues.

    • CardinalHill on September 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Its all the election cycle. Large volume elections provide much bigger representation of NOVA representation in congress and national elections but when off year and state elections occur NOVA residents dont come out to support the platforms that help them.

      We end up with the more important state politics being run by those who don’t represent our interests, and recently this has meant GOP who are against mass transit funding and land use… and women’s rights/myriad of other issues.

      • Tysons Engineer on September 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

        I think information is the key. An informed electorate is one who can make the best decisions in their interest not corporations and not interest groups. One informed citizen is equal to the same power in the voting booth as a Koch brother, and if you are passionate and help inform others you can be just as powerful before election day too.

        Whether you are democrat or republican, what has happened to the funding of the economic engine of Virginia is appalling, and we need to have leaders who understand we are tired of it and are willing to backlash against this continued trend.

  2. MH on September 9, 2012 at 12:55 am

    You are not using a very good formula. You did not show how much money is for running the state government in Richmond and other state-wide expenses. You have to subtract that. The comparison should be to the percentage back the other counties get.

    total state revenue – state wide expenses = revenue returned to counties

    revenue returned to NOVA / revenue NOVA sent to state = 19%

    revenue returned to rest of VA counties / revenue rest of VA counties sent to state = %

    • MH on September 9, 2012 at 12:57 am

      I do agree that we are getting ripped off here.

  3. John on September 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    This is just life in a state with income and cultural differences. There are wealthier locations and poorer locations, and the fact that government should provide fairly consistent services to all of its citizens is the reason why the math works out to seem so unfair.

    Also, much of these highway projects are not so much designed to help the citizens of the direct area, but to bring efficiency to regional commerce that depends on the state’s highways. It is true, in fact, that Northern Virginians probably reap a disproportionately high benefit from highway projects in the region due to the higher share of transported goods that ultimately head to the metro D.C. area.

    All state taxes go into a general fund to be used as determined by lawmakers. Counties, with the state government’s blessing, may tax separately for funds to remain within the counties for local government allocation. This is the way it’s always been. If Northern Virginia residents feel frustrated, try talking to someone who lives in NYC.

    • Tysons Engineer on September 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      John,

      I think you underestimate the issue. It is not the fact that our area subsidized lesser areas; that as you say is the reality of urbanized regions vs non-urbanized. It is the fact that our state government is doing everything in their power to disrupt the economy of our region leaving us to bicker on the order of millions about local projects all the while 9 billion goes to the state as an ever shrinking amount comes back. It is the scale of the discrepancy and the fact that Virginia has a 500 million surplus this year, non of which it has offered to fix serious issues in NOVA due to political spite.

      You bring up New York, an excellent point let’s investigate. New York City receives $11.3 billion from the New York State $58.9 billion general fund (about 20% of the state spending goes back to the city). On the other hand NOVA receives $2 billion from a $42 billion budget from the state (4.8% of all state spending).

      Now you could say, well New York has a bigger population than NOVA; ok lets do the numbers per capita.

      42% of the population of NY lives in the city(8.24m vs 19.47m). This is compared to 22.5% (1.8m vs 8m) of Virginias population living in NOVA. Per million residents NYC vs NY is 1.37 billion spent per million(city) 3.02 billion spent per million (state total). In virginia it is 1.11 billion spent per million (city) 5.25 billion spent per million(state total). The weighted ratio is 45% for NYC and 21% for NOVA. By ratio per capita NYC gets double the support from the state as NOVA does.

      This is the ridiculousness of our current situation.

  4. cmckeonjr@aol.com on September 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    A strategy downstate of “starve the beast” of Northern Virginia? Very believable.

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