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? James W. Benson (D), 37, of 9208 Christopher St., Fairfax, business manager for a newsletter of The Public Opinion Foundation, has been a branch chief at the federal energy research agency, a project manager at the Council on Economic Priorities and has written widely about energy, employment and economics.
Spending: The state cuts were made necessary by arbitrary cuts of vital programs announced by the Reagan administration. Governor Robb has been tough but fair in his allocation of these cuts. More cuts can be made in old pork-barrel highway projects in the southern part of the state, with savings passed along to Northern Virginia, which only gets a fraction of the taxes we have paid returned to us, for much-needed transportation improvements.
Taxes: The tax burden on middle-income earners must be reduced. The state income tax should be made more equitable by raising taxes for the very wealthy. Localities need legislation to allow them to be more creative in how property taxes are calculated. At present, many homes are being taxed at unreasonably high rates because present rules do not take account of the difference between the "cash" price and the "selling" price. I would also favor elimination of taxes on food and medicine. Local property taxes should be payable in monthly, quarterly or semi-annual increments for those who do not pay the taxes through their mortgages. Property tax escrow accounts, for those who pay through their mortgage, should earn a competitive interest, since the bank is putting that money to their own use.
Legislation: I would introduce legislation to roll back last year's bill, written by condominium speculators, and introduced by the Republican incumbent, which severely reduced local authority to protect apartment renters and to set the terms for orderly transitions from rental to condominium. Fred J. Ricci (D), 43, of 11421 Vale Rd., Oakton, is an electrical engineer who has done extensive consulting and has taught at The George Washington University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. A former member of the Fairfax/ Falls Church Community Services Board, he is active in PTA, scouting and church programs.
Spending: I think a 5 percent across-the-board cut is sound economics. It maintains a balanced budget and shortcuts deficit spending.
Taxes: At this time the taxes levied in the state appear to be fair and equitable. I am concerned that Northern Virginia receives its fair share of the taxes.
Legislation: Northern Virginians need more funding for roads and mass transportation since we are more of a commuting population than some other portions of the state.