Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kaine's About Face on Land Use

Road to Ruin reporter Bob Burke has been digging into Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's apparent abandonment of the land use legislation he championed during the fall gubernatorial campaign. He confirms the account provided by Del. Robert Marshall, R-Manassas, and columnist Patrick McSweeney.

Bob did get a response from Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall. Hall's response: Kaine still backs the measure but regards it as “part of a more comprehensive transportation package. ... We are probably more in a posture of [trying to] fight the battles we have a reasonable chance of winning.”

In other words, Kaine is putting all his muscle behind the $1 billion-a-year tax increase -- a tax increase he never mentioned during the campaign. Still unresolved: Whether the Governor caved into pressure from the home builder/real estate interests.

Read Bob's story here.


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Well gee, maybe he came to the conclusion that supporting an undefined position was a lose, lose proposition. One major part of leadership is admitting when you are wrong.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kaine did a bait and switch in order to win the election. He knew his rival was painting him as a tax and spend liberal (and apparently he is), so he threw in a bone for the many informed and frustrated citizens of Northern Virginia.

The end result of this GA session, plus the local budgeting processes, will be markedly higher taxes of all types. The joke's on us.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Deborah Reyher said...

If the transportation funding goes forward without any land-use controls to ensure proper transportation infrastructure (at the very least), then we will face a massive road-building spree that in turn will fuel more land speculation by developers.

The very agencies that will control the funds to plan and build the roads are heavily influenced by developers, so we will likely see road construction authorized more for their benefit than for the public good.

Remember this?

The map that goes with that is a doozy.

Over 20 civic groups working together on land use issues in Fairfax County through issued a press release prior to the Governor's Fairfax Transportation Town Hall calling transportation and runaway development "twin crises" that must be addressed jointly. The truth of that has not changed, but acting like these Siamese twins can be surgically separated and have at least one survive is a huge mistake

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

Admittedly, my network is far from the largest, but I'm hearing a great deal of disappointment and, sometimes, anger about Tim Kaine's apparent "about face."

It's important to remember that many NoVA voters are simply reacting to what they believe are unacceptable byproducts of development under today's rules. I don't think that most people take the time to analyze the policy issues involved with linking land use and transportation. Rather, they are seeing local officials approve project after project without regard to the impact on infrastructure, most especially, schools and roads. At the same time, they see their real estate taxes increase annually at rates that greatly exceed most people's increases in income. Further, local officials often blame, rightly or wrongly, some of the increase on the need to address growth - more schools, more services, etc.

To top it off, many legislators and business leaders are lobbying for higher taxes to fund the infrastructure needed to support past, present and future development. Essentially, they are saying to the public, either pay more or development and growth in Virginia are threatened.

I respectfully submit that, for very good reasons, many people in NoVA simply don't care and might even prefer that such threat be realized. One reason is that a majority of people in the Metro Washington region do not work for local businesses. They do not benefit or suffer financially based on the success or failure of local businesses to grow. The second reason is that most of the gains from growth that benefit government (e.g., income and sales taxes) flow to Richmond and darn little flows back in return.

Thus, we have a situation where development in NoVA directly benefits only a minority of voters and burdens all with a declining quality of life and higher taxes. Under these circumstances, it seems absurd to argue that we need to pay even higher taxes for this situation to continue.

Then, last summer and early fall, Tim Kaine steps in with the statement "This is crazy. It makes no sense to build more when the transportation facilities cannot support what's already here. Let's change the law so local governments can say 'no' to a proposed development under these circumstances." Kaine has provided the only sensible response most NoVA residents have heard. Thus, even in strong GOP precincts, Tim Kaine does extremely well. Mark Herring makes the same promise, if you will, and does even better.

So now, Governor Tim Kaine seems to be backing away from his proposal to stop the absurdity. But for those Yellow Dog Democrats and those involved in development or related industries, who in NoVA would still rally behind Tim Kaine? I used to think Kaine was more savvy than Mark Warner. Not anymore.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Why do we denigrate roads for causing development spurred by "speculators" but we give Metro credit for development by speculators? The reason big developers control so much land is that only big developers can play the game according to rules promoted by so called conservationists. If there was really a widespread desire to save all this "hallowed ground", then why did so many sell out to developers, and why didn't those who claim it is so valuable buy it?

"This is crazy. It makes no sense to build more when the transportation facilities cannot support what's already here. Let's change the law so local governments can say 'no' to a proposed development under these circumstances."

Well, if it is so crazy, why are all those wealthy speculators lining up to do it? Could it be because they know the homes will sell? How crazy is that? What is crazy is saying no to a development, unless you can replace it with something better.

I don't think we are going to get a massive road spending spree for the kind of dollars currently being talked about.


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