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November 30, 2011

And in Local News…

Arlington County board member Chris Zimmerman is hopping mad at Republicans in the Virginia state legislature labeling them, “extremists,” whose goal is to “wreck government.”

What got Mr. Zimmerman so upset?

They won’t allow him to tax more things.

In Virginia, localities are only allowed the powers granted to them by the state. In the case of Arlington, the county is only allowed to tax people’s houses. And cars. And boats and trailers and motorcycles. And hotel rooms, meals, drinks, and cigarettes.

And their dogs.

And if you’re a business they can tax furniture and fixtures. And machinery and tools. And computers, and software. And that’s on top of your business license.

But other than that, it’s like a dry well.  What are they supposed to do?

Okay, they could just raise existing taxes, but you know the problem with that? People notice it. It would be much better if taxes could be targeted to small, politically weak or unsympathetic groups.  (That’s what we call, “democracy!”)

Zimmerman points out that he needs to tax more things because the state keeps passing down unfunded mandates, requiring localities to come up with the money to pay for them.  Without additional revenue, that means Arlington County might be forced to cut back on essential services.

Like the “Artisphere,” an “Arts Space for Everyone,” that was “to be free from the constraints of a singular vision, performance type or audience.”

What do you get when your business plan consists of little more than, “Hey, what the hell, let’s see what happens?”

“However, the unintended consequence of the individual interpretations that arose from such branding has been confusion over what exactly Artisphere is supposed to be, and for whom.”

The other unintended consequence has been a projected operating deficit for 2012 of about four times the original estimate. Made last year.

If you pull that money out of the Artisphere, and use it to fund state mandates rather than increasing taxes, what are the unidentified performers supposed to do? And what about the audience yet to be specifically targeted?  Where are they supposed to go if they want to enjoy an artistic performance of some undetermined type?  What will you tell them? Whoever they are?

Fortunately, federal dollars are still flowing as Arlington just accepted a million dollar grant for automated license plate readers that will allow the county to easily monitor the movements of tens of thousands of Arlington citizens none of whom are suspected of any wrongdoing.

Thank you, federal government, thank you for caring enough to provide us the money to put in place this important program.

Otherwise we might have had to cut back on funding programs pestering people to stop driving their cars.

J.

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November 30, 2011 at 03:58 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

Reminds me of an old joke for when you notice someone singing or painting,etc:

"Hey where's the money?"
"What money?"
"The money your parents gave you for lessons..."

Posted by: Marty | Nov 30, 2011 8:26:32 PM

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Posted by: Michael | Dec 19, 2011 4:02:57 PM

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