Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Is He Finally Listening?

Well, it seems that Chairman Sean might finally be listening to his Republican base (though, of course, with enough cover that it doesn't look like he's caving in to political pressure from those whose nomination he carries). I just received this e-mail from Karen Ulrich, PWC GOP Committee Vice Chairman:
Dear Prince William County Republicans,
Chairman Connaughton announced at the Board of County Supervisors meeting approximately a half hour ago, the Public Hearing on the Proposed Brentswood Development is canceled for this evening.
Apparently, the applicant wants to make substantial changes to their plan, and therefore the application is required to go back before the Planning Commissioners. We will keep you updated.
Karen S. Ulrich
Vice Chairman
Don't get too excited, though. It seems that on Vince Thoms' live blogchat last evening, Chairman Sean still couldn't 'fess up to his irresponsible tax and spending habits. Haru asked
During your tenure as Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, real estate taxes (rate x assessment = Tax) have soared, the B of S seems to spend spend spend, it reminds me of the "conservative" congress and the "conservative" president. Why can’t you control your voracious spending habits?
Chairman Sean's answer was this:

Question #10

Prince William County has lowered its property tax rate by approximately 60 cents per $100 valuation since 2000. It is the largest drop of any jurisdiction in Virginia and possibly in the United States. This reduction occurred even as the county increased its expenditures for transportation, education, and public safety. In fact, these functions now comprise almost 80% of the County’s spending with the amount devoted to transportation increasing dramatically over the next 5 years. These functions are also facing the most dramatic price escalations due higher land and construction costs, with the county estimating the costs of some projects increasing 25% a year!

Virginia is an interesting state; it penalizes successful jurisdictions. The more a community gets wealthy, the less it provides in support for functions such as education. For example, this year Prince William County lost $6 million in state education aid because of the new composite index. Even so, Prince William County now has the lowest average tax burden in Northern Virginia becuase we have kept our spending in check and focused on core functions.

A final thought relates in general to tax policy. All governments tax by percentages. That is, you pay a percentage of the value of property in taxes; the same is true for income or purchases you make. The market determines the value of a property, a good, or a persons income, and the tax you pay is based completely on that value. Governments can change the rate but the market will ultimately determine the tax one pays. The bottom line is whether this manner of taxing is fair or appropriate; I think that is a better question open for dialogue and debate on the local, state and national levels.

Another typical Chairman Sean evasion! Still trying to advance the lie that he's cut taxes.

Listening to Chairman Sean talk about his record on taxes is a lot like Whack-a-Mole. And nearly as annoying as Chuck E. Cheese's.

The spin from Chairman Sean's Cult of Personality will be furious, but this is a huge, if interim, victory for Corey Stewart and John Stirrup.