County Residents Need More Housing Options
I was appalled to learn that Occoquan Supervisor Corey A. Stewart (R) recently opposed an increase in the number of units in a proposed high-rise apartment complex because "it would attract low-income residents." It's been quite a while since I've heard such an arrogant, insulting and insensitive remark from an elected official.
Mr. Stewart should understand that the lack of affordable housing is a serious problem in Prince William County, and not just for the low-income people he seeks to exclude. Many of our county's police officers, firefighters and teachers cannot afford to live here. Many young adults who grew up here cannot afford to move back when they finish college.
We need more housing options for people of all income levels. And we need elected officials who believe that the value of an individual is not measured by his bank account.
Keith A. Scarborough
Parrish Should Discuss His Record on Taxes
Manassas area voters ought to be hearing a debate on the wisdom of Del. Harry J. Parrish's (R-50th District) leadership in raising taxes in 2004, as Mr. Parrish faces his first challenge at the ballot box in two decades from conservative Republican Steve Chapman.
But rather than defend his patronage of the $1.6 billion tax increase, Mr. Parrish is sending out a slick flier in which he claims to be "a leader for lower taxes." In it, Mr. Parrish reaches back 10 years to claim to have cut taxes by $1.3 billion. He chooses to ignore his recent leadership for higher taxes, including a vote in 2004 that more than cancels out the tax cuts he previously supported.
Further misleading his constituents, Mr. Parrish touts his support for car tax relief. That was his position in 1998 but not in 2004. He fails to mention his vote in 2004 to put a cap on car tax relief, which will result in car tax bills rising.
Mr. Parrish was not a bit player in the 2004 tax debate. He chairs the House committee that sent the record tax increases to the floor. Those tax increases -- including a half-cent increase in the sales tax -- were not necessary to support essential state services, as is now clear with a $1.2 billion surplus from the existing tax structure. Mr. Parrish is not prepared to reduce those taxes in light of the surplus. No, he is not a leader for lowering taxes, other than the food tax.
Voters deserve to hear a defense of Mr. Parrish's recent performance, his leadership for higher taxes. Were they necessary? Was it responsible to raise the sales tax just two years after voters resoundingly defeated a sales tax increase? Was it worthwhile to raise taxes so sharply without putting a single penny of the increase into transportation?
It is so very sad to see a man with more than 50 years of public service and a reputation for integrity stooping so low just to hold on to his job for two more years. Harry owes it to himself and to the voters to talk frankly about his partnering with Gov. Mark R. Warner and his Democratic colleagues to raise our taxes.
HOT Proposals Threaten Slugging, HOV Lanes
Sometimes desperation leads to decisions that make matters worse. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), desperate to relieve congestion in Northern Virginia but starved of the funding to do so, is considering proposals to convert Interstate 95/395 HOV lanes into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. Those proposals, although well intentioned, would damage one of our only forms of mass transit and turn our commuting woes into a commuting nightmare.