Candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Issue: What do you believe is the most important statewide issue the 1983 General Assembly will confront?
Budget: What is your opinion of the Robb administration's budget cuts? Would you cut some programs more deeply and restore funds to others?
Problem: What Northern Virginia problem is most in need of legislative attention?
Mary A. Marshall (D), Incumbent, 61, of 2256 N. Wakefield St., Arlington, has been a delegate 14 years and ranks 25th in seniority among the 100 House members. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore College, she is a former economist with the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Issue: Essential services for education, law enforcement, transportation, economic development, health and human services must be maintained in spite of a declining economy and reduced federal aid. There is a pressing need for alternatives to institutional care for the frail elderly and the physically and mentally handicapped. Services in homes, in group homes and in retirement homes are better than institutional care for many and frequently cost less. A comprehensive community care system will reduce individual and family misery and the waste of tax dollars.My knowledge of the funding and administrative relationships between the agencies and programs dealing with health, welfare and the aging will be most helpful in developing community care, as well as my experience in working with federal programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and disability income.
Budget: Gov. Robb's budget cuts were necessary because of Virginia's declining revenue in this period of recession. Virginia is required to have a balanced budget. I protested reductions in the funding of direct care for the retarded and the mentally ill in our state institutions. Gov. Robb has assured me that the 5 percent reduction does not apply to direct care services in our state hospitals.
Problem: Northern Virginia needs state assistance in developing a regional plan for financing and managing the Metro bus and subway system. Schedules and services must be tailored to the budget constraints of each of the participating jurisdictions. Train and bus schedules should be tailored to meet the needs of the riders and to advantage business and economic development. The General Assembly made a big step forward when it awarded $21 million a year directly to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, thus eliminating jurisdictional disputes over its allocation. These funds should be made available to maintenance as well as for construction, as the state has done with highway funds. Federal cutbacks make it more difficult to maintain service at current levels. Development of a state-assisted plan for regional support of the Metro system in Northern Virginia will be a major contribution to a successful transportation system.
David M. Mason (R), 24, of 2131 N. Monroe St., Arlington, is legislative director for U.S. Rep. Thomas J. Bliley Jr. (R-Va.) and former legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). He is a member of the Arlington Fiscal Affairs Committee, serves on the Arlington County Republican Committee and is active in the Jaycees.
Issue: The state's budget will be the most important concern facing the next General Assembly. Pressures from special interests and the transfer of federal programs will put great pressure on Virginia's budget to grow. In the past 10 years, the budget has grown from $5 billion to $13.5 billion -- more than 150 percent!Just last year the General Assembly approved $500 million in new taxes, and it refused to put any limits on future tax and spending growth. I would support tax indexing or a flat income tax to prevent inflation from driving taxpayers into higher brackets. I would work for a flexible limit on state spending so that the government does not grow faster than the state's economy. These fair and reasonable measures will allow Virginia to manage its budget growth while meeting legitimate needs.
Budget: Gov. Robb's across-the-board budget cuts are both inequitable and inefficient. A meat-axe approach to budget cutting is never fair. The most efficient programs are damaged the most. No attempt was made to sort out pressing needs from frills in the budget, and there was no effort to seek out waste and fat within programs and departments. I am willing to take the time and effort to examine the budget from top to bottom. I'm willing to eliminate programs where they serve no useful purpose. I'm willing to cut expenses where there is room. I'm willing to increase spending where there are real needs. Overall budget growth must be slowed, and that means some programs will not grow as expected. I would rather cut some programs more deeply so that truly needed functions may continue.
Problem: Getting our fair share of state revenues is Northern Virginia's biggest problem. Many of our needs in transportation and other areas could be easily met if we enjoyed an equitable return on our own taxes. I will work for a Northern Virginia highway district so that our urban and suburban needs can be addressed directly rather than spreading efforts across more rural areas of the state. I will work for continued, stable Metro funding. I support a flat-rate state income tax. Not only is that proposal fair and simple to administer, it will end tax discrimination against Northern Virginia with its higher per capita income. North Arlington needs a delegate who will work closely with the County Board, representing all points of view, to achieve the needed changes in state laws for a more equal distribution of state funds.