It’s the Economy Folks

Although much has been made of my recommended funding methodology for the schools (aka categorical funding) and my philosophy of fiscal conservatism there is one facet of my campaign that has largely gone unnoticed; advocacy for economic development.

We can debate the idea of hearings, meetings or surveys to learn of the taxpayer’s desires as to what level of taxation and how it is spent is acceptable to them. But we generally gravitate back to what the real estate tax is and/or should be to finance the expenses of providing the services we as a community expect that makes us a unique and quality community in which to live, work and raise a family. And further, we speak of the real estate tax rate in terms of housing which limits our focus on revenue generation. As the community continues to grow our focus needs to expand as well to embrace another source of revenue that consumes very little of our services but adds tremendous economic benefit; Economic Development.

When the County contemplated combining the EDC and IDA into our Economic Development Authority, I suggested we ask for a modification of the Code of Virginia that would allow a member of the BOS to serve as a voting member of the EDA. Delegate Randy Minchew sponsored a bill that accomplished that idea. I further asked to be appointed as the BOS member on the EDA, that request was approved, and I have served on the EDA since its inception. In addition, I have sought out quality candidates from various industries to form a well-rounded board that represents the spectrum of industry in our county.

With economic development revenue to balance the cost of providing expanded services to our growing residential base we can continue to provide excellent services and maintain a reasonably low tax rate. But there are even more benefits to economic development; jobs. As our manufacturing/industrial base grows it provides good paying job opportunities for you, your children and others seeking to work and live locally. It also provides business for our local commercial businesses, contractors and trades companies, which increases other tax revenue streams like business licenses, sales tax and machinery and tools. 

I have recently voted to expand our economic base, but that vote failed, which given the economic benefit it would have provided puzzles me. Even a vote to take potential economic development to a public hearing, so all sides could be heard, and proposals vetted, was met with some resistance. I fear the business community will soon begin to question our commitment to economic development and look elsewhere to site their plants or expand their footprint. That scenario has grave consequences for our county.

If fiscal conservatism, support for excellent service delivery and robust economic development appeals to you, I ask you to come vote for me in the Republican Primary on April 30 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Greenwood Firehall. 

“There you go again.” (Governor Northam take note.)

Ronald Reagan uttered those words in response to criticism by Carter about Reagan’s position on Medicare (28 October 1980) in the Presidential debate. So let me confer those words on our Governor, Mr. Northam, there you go again, in response to the news article where the Governor proclaimed his desire to again push for more stringent gun control laws.

Even though it was stated that over half the deaths by firearms were a result of those committing suicide, the Democrat in him just seems unable (or unwilling) to focus on the real problem with the tragedy of gun violence; mental illness.

Let me throw some common sense questions into his arguments for the legislation. First, would a ban on “assault rifles” actually ban them at all. According to the Code of Virginia, § 18.2-308.2:01. Possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons, paragraph C. For purposes of this section, “assault firearm” means any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock.

Take note of this portion of the code “and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition”.  Did you catch the part about “at the time of the offense”? A strict interpretation of the code, I believe, would find that until it is used in some type of illegal activity with a magazine that holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition, it is not an assault rifle (or firearm). Curious is it not. 

Secondly, Won’t universal background checks impact only legal, law abiding buyers, not the criminals that steal or buy second hand guns. Are we to suppose that the Governor really thinks that the criminal element will register their guns so we know who has what gun when it is used illegally? Is someone really going to have my heirs go through a background check before they take possession of my guns at the settlement of my estate?

So Governor Northam, why not concentrate on important items like reducing taxes, cutting government spending, transportation, infrastructure improvements or a host of other concerns I think most citizens have instead of the party line headline grabbers? Try and lead with a new vision for a changing Virginia, not the stale old Democratic talking points that have seen our Commonwealth lose its standing in comparison with surrounding states.

Thought Provoking

In his book, Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get A Life, Larry Winget, The Pitbull of Personal Development, inserted a short little saying:

What you think about, talk about, and do something about is what comes about.

Amazing how a little common sense goes a long way when put down in plain language that anyone can understand. He goes on to say “What you say programs what happens. Your words attract to you either the life you want, or the life you do not want.”

So is he on to something? Can I really have the life I want merely by saying what I want and taking actions to make it happen. My belief is that it is possible, not easy sometimes, may take a while, but very possible. But, and here is the caveat, you have to start.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Lao Tzu