Thursday, May 03, 2012

Del. Dickie Bell takes shot at local governments for fiscal irresponsibility

Wednesday night at the Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting, a split board voted to raise personal property taxes to fill a budget gap after first voting to keep the real estate taxes at the current rate.

One of the main issues was unfunded mandates from state representatives that have had deep repercussions at the local level including passing along Virginia Retirement System (VRS) costs, as noted by the News Advance:
One of the biggest burdens Richmond has foisted on local government entities ­— city councils, boards of supervisors and school boards — is the recapitalization of the Virginia Retirement System. And it’s close to becoming the straw that breaks the backs of local governments and local taxpayers. [emphasis added]
As a result, Chairman Tracy Pyles explained to those attending the meeting that all needed to put more pressure on those legislators. From WHSV TV-3:

"We have to press our delegates to start making it fair of what's being sent up there (to Richmond). We're sending all that money up there and it's not coming back. We sit there and listen to excuses like, 'Well it's the other party;' or 'It's northern Virginia;' 'It's the committee chairman.' We have got to raise heck and say you're basic job is education, law enforcement and roads,"
That attitude has been echoed by numerous local leaders of city councils and supervisor boards throughout the Commonwealth, resulting in tax hikes.

Del. Dickie Bell (R-20th House), who represents Staunton, Waynesboro, and much of Augusta County, sees it differently, blaming localities for being financially irresponsible by noting that they should have "done their work." Here is Bell's quote from WHSV TV-3:

...  Bell who represents part of Augusta County says just because localities could not produce a budget, it's not fair that the blame be put on those in Richmond.
"We've had to make spending decisions that weren't popular. If localities had done their work, based on drafting of a budget the House of Delegates produced, they would find themselves in a better position. They had the framework. The fact is even though the economy is better than rest of the U.S., the revenue stream is at same level as it was during pre-recession in 2008. We can't spend what we don't have. Localities don't want to do that," said Bell.
Is this the new attitude permeating state legislators ... to blame it on the localities?

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