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Arlington Antics Good For Prince William?

By Greg L | 2 January 2007 | Arlington County, Virginia Politics | No Comments

A fawning Washington Post article today “Arlington Takes On Global Warming” trumpets Arlington County’s headlong rush into spending taxpayer dollars on a variety of initiatives motivated by a recent documentary by the self-proclaimed father of the internet, Al Gore. Between handouts for politically-correct behavior, dubious new regulatory burdens and increasing electricity expenses fur municipal buildings, the county acknowledges adding at least $5 million in additional spending (and likely far more) at a time when the county is already facing a $20 million budget deficit for 2007. But they claim to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions a whole 2.6 percent, and buoyed by this meaningless statistic they’re rushing forward as fast as they can to quadruple the reduction they claim to have achieved.

Between 2000 and 2006 spending in Arlington County has increased from $620 million annually to over a billion dollars, and increase of 62%. Real estate taxes have nearly doubled in the past five years, and the county faces difficult choices this year as it attempts to find a way to fund core services without yet another stunning tax hike. Currently Arlington county government spends 35% more per capita than Prince William County. These new eco-initiatives will continue to boost this spending spree perhaps to the point where the economic viability of the county will become clearly degraded.

Prince William County residents should be glad about this foolishness for several reasons. One, this nearby laboratory of politically-motivated economic implosion is close enough so that the results will provide credible arguments against using our tax dollars in a similar fashion. Secondly, the burden this places on Arlington County businesses will encourage economic development farther out from the metropolitan Washington center which can boost tax revenues here as well as reducing commuting times. Arlington County’s location adjacent to Washington will always provide it with a number of businesses which will have to just bite the bullet, but for those who have options Prince William County will become an increasingly attractive alternative.

If Arlington County is successful in chasing away a good portion of it’s business community into more outlying jurisdictions, it actually may succeed in it’s carbon dioxide emission targets using the only proven means for doing so — causing a reduction in economic activity. Let’s all wish them success in this endeavor.

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