Once again we’re hearing the call for increased taxes on Virginia’s families. There’s no question that our lawmakers face some tough decisions trying to adequately fund core services like transportation. Instead of raising taxes, they should cut out wasteful spending. Here are three ideas to start with:
Idea 1: Substitute express buses for wasteful spending on rail-transit systems that make no financial or transportation sense. Bus routing is more flexible than fixed-rail trains, and buses operate at a fraction of the cost of rail. The Virginia highway fund is going dry because over a third of it is used for public transportation and other pet projects like Dulles Rail. Leaders have been siphoning off money from your gas taxes for decades to promote economic development schemes like the Silver Line. Few people use rail and everyone else subsidizes it; rail costs at least four times as much, per passenger mile, as driving.
The Wall Street Journal nailed it recently, saying,
“We have got to stop funding mass transit projects that don’t have the ridership to be justified, have a history of huge cost overruns, and lack any transparency or accountability. The two best examples of this are the Dulles Rail project with MWAA and light rail.”
Idea 2: A recent study from Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice found that Virginia could save over $2 BILLION annually by simply limiting the increases in administrative and non-teaching staff to student enrollment. According to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, between 1992 and 2009, student enrollment in public schools increased 17 percent while the number of teachers increased 11 percent. Incredibly, during that same period, the number of administrators and non-teaching staff has increased a whopping 100 percent! Enough!
Idea 3: Raise the retirement age of Virginia employees to age 65 and see if those employees run out the door into a job market where most of the taxpayers who pay for their pensions have already shed some income and benefits. Every year pension payments swallow a growing proportion of the state budget.
Don’t ask Virginians to pony up until there are some serious sacrifices made and ALL the pork is cut out. That is what the real goal should be.