With the Virginia General Assembly in full swing, both Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland and Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman, have very definite priorities they want to see approved. Central to both is a change in the taxing power for counties.
"Equal taxing power with the cities is my primary goal," Hyland said. "It would simply be a level change. It's not like giving any new authority, just leveling it out among all jurisdictions."
That was echoed by Kauffman. "Taxing power must be changed if we are going to get relief for homeowners. But, if past is prologue, this will be very difficult. It's going to be a significant challenge since we have a governor and General Assembly on different planets," he said.
Kauffman also sees the need for more growth management tools. "We need to match the pace of development with the facilities available," he said.
Hyland also focused on the need to better coordinate public facilities with growth. "We have, for years, talked about inadequate public facilities development as geared to development. Local governments should have greater authority to control this. Even though we [Fairfax County] are 87 percent built out, we will face major redevelopment in the years to come," Hyland said.
"The state needs to continue to support us with improving education and transportation. This is an ongoing desire -- to have the state help out more financially," said Hyland.
BOTH BACKED the need for overall tax reform at the state level. "I think the governor's proposal to reevaluate the tax structure in this state is essential to bring us into the 21st century," Hyland said
"We have graphed onto the tax code, over the years, $600 million worth of exceptions. We have got to make changes. This is particularly essential in light of all our budget problems," Hyland pointed out.
"Since our financial house is in such disrepair, tax reform is absolutely a top priority," Kauffman maintained.
Closer to home, Kauffman focused on development and transportation while Hyland zeroed in on accelerating the revitalization of the Route 1 corridor and eradication of gang violence.
But in the final analysis, both chose increasing the pressure on the General Assembly for equal taxing power as their top 2004 resolution.