Sunday, July 5, 2009

NoVA's Transportation Woes Won't End Any Time Soon

There are three reasons that the transportation problems in Northern Virginia (NoVA) will never get resolved. First is of course the Republican controlled House of Delegates. They have stopped all attempts to spend the money that NoVA brings into the state to fix the transportation problems. Hopefully the election this November will reverse that situation, but it will be for naught if McDonnell wins the governorship.

Second reason is all the money wasted in this state on prisons. With Republicans in control and McDonnell as AG, we got stuck with the three strikes laws that compel judges to give stiffer sentences and increase the tax burden on all Virginians to provide more and more prisons and law enforcement. There are also all those victimless crimes such as Marijuana and several other controlled narcotics that result in drastically increasing the prison populations driving up the costs to taxpayers and resulting in the United States being the prison nation of the entire world. Only five percent of the world's population but paying to house 25 percent of the world's prison population. Thanks McDonnell for your part in making Virginia part of the overall problem. Not only that, but then he has the gall to accuse Democrats of being tax and spend politicians. After education and medicaid, prisons is the fasted growing and largest part of our state budget. If McDonnell succeeds in this election, you can rest assured that we will drown in prisoners.

Finally, the real reason we will never see transportation improvements in Northern Virginia is the Right to Work For Less law in Virginia. Although the statute has little direct effect on NoVA, it does have a drastic secondary effect here. Our work force in NoVA is mostly government employees or defense and other government contractors. The Work for Less law doesn't effect those two sectors and besides the government and contractors pay livable wages and provide adequate benefits.

But the rest of Virginia isn't so lucky. The rest of Virginia has the same lack of living standards as Mississippi, and for the same reason. They can't earn livable wages. This results in Richmond taking NoVA's taxes and spending them on the needs of the poorer area's of the state. The Work for Less law results in much lower salaries than those enjoyed in NoVA. Lower salaries means less income to afford middle class housing, so no middle class property taxes are collected to be used to produce schools at the same professional level as those enjoyed in NoVA. Lower salaries mean less income taxes for the state and less expendable income to purchase goods and services that generate sales taxes for the state. Less taxes from the poorer areas of the state result in the state having to take the necessary funds away from NoVA. Those funds should be providing the improvements we need to our transportation. With all the people moving into the area and more and more expansion of the Washington suburbs deeper into Virginia, our standard of living is suffering from the lack of taxes that we are generating but are going to the rest of the state.

Until these three problems see improvement, there will be no fixing the transportation problems here. It is an absolute certainty that the Republican team running for office will ever resolve these problems. All three have come out opposed to Virginians earning livable wages and adequate benefits through collective bargaining rights. Ken Cuccinelli is against collective bargaining for state public workers and all other workers in Virginia, even though it is legal for private employees to organize unions and collective bargain with their employers. Cuccinelli has also stated he has no intention of enforcing Virginia laws if elected our next Attorney General.

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