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How To Define 'Core' Services

To hear the "no tax" candidates for the General Assembly tell the story, no new revenue is needed in the state or the county. Any tax restructuring should be "revenue neutral."

But the Commonwealth of Virginia has cut billions of dollars to balance the budget in the last two years, making up for shortfalls in taxes collected because of the recession. In addition, the budget had to do without nearly $1.5 billion a year because of tax cuts that have been enacted over the past 10 years, including the car tax and a bevy of other rollbacks and tax credits.

"The core things that government does for people have not suffered," Del. Dick Black told the Connection editorial board this week, enumerating those items as unemployment, public safety and K-12 education. The budget cuts "haven’t created any great angst among the public."

Black is hardly alone in his view.

THOSE MOUTHING the no-tax mantra clearly did not make the trip to Richmond to join 1,000 marchers advocating for increased services for people with disabilities.

Angst: What an aging parent feels when he wonders what will happen to his adult child with disabilities when he is gone.

Angst: What a young adult with developmental disabilities feels when he discovers that upon graduation from high school, the training and services he has come to depend upon will come to an end, and that he will have no vocational placement.

Angst: What the family of a man with mental illness feels as lack of community-based care results in repeated hospitalizations and arrests.

MARCHERS CALLED for millions of dollars in additional funding to provide services for more than 1,000 more Virginians with mental retardation, and other services for people with disabilities.

The coming budget cycle will be another very difficult year in Richmond, but the budget cannot be balanced on the needs of the most frail among us.

We share the wish of one marcher who hoped that those who suffered for days without things they consider basic necessities — electricity, drinkable water — would sympathize with those who are living their lives without things the rest of us consider basic necessities — independent living, housing choices, jobs.