Last night at the Manassas City Council Meeting a statement on legislative priorities was reviewed that included the following:
Local Revenue Capacity - that if the General Assembly removes or reduces any revenues from one source, they have to be made up from somewhere else in order to keep funding levels consistent.
Machinery and Tools Tax - that if the M&T tax is phased out, the $4.5 million the city receives from it would have to be made up from somewhere else.
Schools Funding - correct the Sales Tax estimate for school funding for FY2008.
Transportation - The city needs more revenue from the State Transportation Revenue Sharing program, and legislation regulating driver behavior at crosswalks.
Regional Transportation Positions - the city supports the Northern Virginia 2020 Transportation Plan and needs dedicated and reliable transportation funding.
Environmental Surcharges - the city is opposed to surcharges on utilities services.
Mayor’s Vote on Council - the city supports legislation authorizing the Mayor to vote in the City Council.
Manassas Museum Expansion - The city wants a half-million dollar grant or earmark for the Manasssas Museum.
I had no idea that Democrats had such influence over the Manassas City Council. This document embraces Jeanette Rishell’s demand for a dedicated revenue source for transportation funding (essentially calling for new taxes), endorses Senator Colgan’s non-state entity earmarks from the 2006 legislative session and calles for even more, and whines about the effect of repealing a tax on idle capital equipment which isn’t producing revenue anyways. This is substantially the platform of the Democratic party, who apparently doesn’t need representation on the Manassas City Council in order to advance their agenda.
What’s missing from these legislative priorities is similarly disturbing. Has the city somehow solved the illegal immigration problem in Manassas with the passage of a single resolution? Why is there no appeal for assistance from the state in dealing with the impact of illegal aliens in our overburdened public schools, by our public safety personnel, or in our hospitals? Certainly the city council realizes that illegal immigration is at least as important as whether motorists are required to stop at crosswalks when the speed llimit is less than 35 miles per hour, or whether the Mayor has the opportunity to record a vote when that vote would not change the outcome of a council decision. Is this a “declare victory and go home” moment for the council?
These draft legislative priorities are a huge disappointment. Understandably this was crafted by City Manager Larry Hughes, who apparently has a very different vision for the City of Manassas than the council. To allow a document such as this to initially frame the discussion for the council would seem indicative of an unwarranted degree of latitude afforded to city staff. The city council should discard this draft and start over with priorities that more adequately reflect the concerns of city residents, as this document is spectacularly inadequate.
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