House of Delegates candidates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Spending: Governor Robb has announced a 5 percent across-the-board cut in state spending. Do you think that is needed and fair? If not, where would you cut state spending?
Taxes: Virginia generally is regarded as a low-to-moderate tax state. Are you happy with the way taxes are levied in the state? What changes would you favor in state and local taxes?
Legislation: Local governments must secure state legislation for most of their functions. What specific legislation would you introduce for your area? F. Clancy McQuigg (R), 39, of 1415 Admiral Dr., Woodbridge, is president of his own firm, Strategic Financial Planning Systems Inc. An ex-Marine who received numerous military service awards, he has headed the Prince William Parent-Teacher Coalition and PTA. He is active in the Lake Ridge-Occoquan Civic Association.
Spending: The 5 percent cut stems from projected shortfalls in estimated personal income and spending. Funds allocated directly to local governments are exempt from cuts. Most of the reduction can be achieved by leaving current administrative vacancies in state agencies open. Equitable sharing of cuts among agencies appears appropriate. Vital state functions including public safety, education and transportation should remain intact even if further cuts are needed. I do not advocate a general tax increase to offset the projected shortfalls.
Taxes: I believe that our state tax system is generally equitable. Like most government systems it can be improved. Constant review is necessary to ensure that tax legislation remains current with Virginia's evolving economy. As a reform I favor elimination of sales taxes on basic food items and medicine. This would be offset by an increase in the general sales tax on other items. I do not favor a current proposal to replace personal property taxes with increased sales taxes. This measure merely transfers a tax burden now borne by owners of expensive airplances, automobiles and boats to our elderly, poor and lower-income families who can least afford higher taxes.
Legislation: Repeal the Dillon Rule. The Dillon Rule requires local elected officials get permission from the General Assembly before starting any new programs to meet local needs. Rural members of the General Assembly often deny programs to retain control over their own local officials, without regard to the impact on Northern Virginia. Elected school boards. Virginia is the only state which prohibits elected school boards. School boards are neither reponsible to the public nor to the elected officials who appoint them. Until school boards are elected in Virginia, public education will not be fully accountable to the citizens of Virginia. Control state agencies. The General Accounting Office reports that hundreds of millions of local and federal dollars have been and still are being wasted to meet scientifically unjustified sewage treatment standards set by the State Water Control Board. No state agency should be able to mandate such expensive programs without approval of the General Assembly. Smith W. Young (R), 34, of 3419 Braddock Dr., Dale City, is a computer analyst with General Electric Co.'s space division. He was a staff member of the U.S. Senate's Ways and Means Committee for the state of Florida until 1973, followed by several years of working as a business and government consultant.
Spending: Come on, Governor Robb, this is a simplistic solution to a complicated problem. A 5 percent across-the-board cut is both unnecessary and wasteful. As a former staff member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee for the state of Florida I will authoritatively say that such an across-the-board cut will unfairly curtail prioritized programs and have little effect on inefficient programs. Alternatively, I will support an across-the-board hiring freeze and then when necessary, transfer employees to programs of primary importance. Increasing user fees for state services and use of state facilities is another equitable source of income.
Taxes: Last year will go down in history as the year of tax increases for Virginia. We received the 3 percent oil franchise tax, the marriage tax, the corporate tax and the liquor tax. Of the 3 percent gasoline tax that goes to Richmond, 1 percent comes back to Northern Virginia. I am in favor of flushing that part of the gasoline tax which is not equitable to Northern Virginia. Additionally, I will support cutting the 4 percent food tax in half, retaining the 1 percent going to local governments. Since groceries are a commodity everyone must purchase, this tax is especially harsh on low-income families. Implicitly, the rate of inflation has been underwriting our tax system, pushing incomes into higher tax brackets; this now demands the need for indexing tax brackets to inflation.
Legislation: Correction, due to the Dillon Rule in Virginia, local governments derive all their powers from the state. Legislation I particularly will pursue is to recognize the "role of government" exercised by planned communities like Dale City and Lake Ridge. For these planned communities there is a significant variance between the 'authority' a developer has and the amount of 'responsibility' he must exercise to resident homeowners. This variance poses a balancing problem which must be resolved through institutional change and change in legislation by elected officials. First, due to bylaws and covenants a planned community is positioned as something more than a county but something less than a city or town. A second balancing problem is that there must be enough 'incentive' to attract the investment of the developer, yet enough 'homeowner protection' to attract buyers to a planned community who want the protection now and for their children in the future. Additionally, I support a bill now being considered to deduct homeowner fees from state income taxes when the fees supplement state expenditures for streets and lights. For those affected, this amounts to double taxation.