– By Delegate Dave LaRock
I’ve heard it said that elections should be held on April 16 so that people would cast their vote while still smarting from the pain of dropping that check in the mail on April 15. According to The Tax Foundation, Virginia State Individual Income Tax Collections Per Capita Fiscal Year 2013 totaled $1,326 – the 8th highest in the US. It’s important that taxpayers remember that feeling when they interact with their elected officials.
You may remember the bold message on the huge trailer-mounted pink tax pig seen in parades around Purcellville and Leesburg – “No Tax Increases.” No doubt I’ll be the brunt of some jokes for associating with that portly mascot, but that tax-related message is an important one that all elected leaders need to keep in mind.
On April 15, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene for one day to consider the Governor’s actions on legislation. On that day, the difference in styles of government between the legislature and the executive will be most apparent. Most legislators would agree that we need a more efficient state government, and many adhere to the philosophy that local decision making by local citizens is best. Local decision making and leaner government are at the heart of the philosophy that guides my votes in the legislature.
When Virginia is lean and efficient, hard-working taxpayers get to keep more of their hard earned dollars and enjoy a better quality of life as you spend your money efficiently and wisely. On a personal and on a state level, good management practices can always yield more for less.
As an example, I recently met with a constituent who helped draw my attention to the benefits an interchange at the intersection of Route 690 and the Route 7 bypass would be. We all know how in-town traffic is affected by school and event traffic, resulting in harsh congestion. Fixing that will be costly, and that’s why I have focused effort on making sure our regional transportation funding priorities receive careful scrutiny. When that happens, there is more funding available for projects like the Route 690 interchange. It’s just that simple.
Likewise, with education (which consumes over one third of Virginia’s budget) seeking value for dollars spent is how we achieve our goals without continually asking for more in taxes. This past session, I submitted a bill that would have given parents of special needs children the ability to withdraw them from public schools and receive a portion of that child’s state education funding to strike out on their own. Giving parents the means to customize their child’s education has tremendous potential not only to improve educational outcomes for at-risk kids, but to cut down on the long term costs borne by the Commonwealth and local schools. Better results for fewer dollars is not impossible, but it does take some effort and a creative approach to problem solving.
As always, my top priority remains serving the citizens of Virginia and the 33rd District by passing laws that boost economic recovery, allow the creation of good, dependable jobs, improve education, reform government spending and protect our individual rights. And as always, I value your input – don’t hesitate to give me a call at 540-751-8364.
After the reconvene session I hope to report back to you with the good news that our Governor has signed into law policy that favors more efficient state government and local decision making by local citizens.
Delegate Dave LaRock represents the 33rd House District, including parts of Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick Counties, and the towns of Leesburg (partial), Purcellville, Berryville, Lovettsville, Round Hill, Hamilton and Hillsboro. LaRock serves on the Transportation Committee, the Science and Technology Committee and the Courts of Justice Committee. Dave and his wife, Joanne, have lived in Loudoun for 28 years, building a successful family-owned general contracting business. The LaRocks reside near Hamilton with Laura, Abby and John, the youngest of their seven children.