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 statwide 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?
Frank Medico (R), Incumbent, 58, of 1000 Emerald Dr., Alexandria, a delegate since 1981, serves on the General Laws and the Labor and Commerce committees. A CPA with more than 20 years of government service, he is a retired assistant director of the General Accounting Office and worked on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
Issue: The most important issue that transcends all others is: Can the state effectively take over federal program transfers and provide essential programs and services without raising taxes, even though there are fewer federal dollars to pay for them? How the state identifies essential programs and services for state funding (Medicare, education, transportation, etc.), sets priorities and allocates funds (the budget) is vital to its success. State spending decisions affect everyone in the state, either as service recipients or taxpayers. The state must become more efficient and effective in delivering essential programs and services, which for the 1982-84 biennium total $13.7 billion. I believe the state can meet its responsibilities without increasing taxes. My more than 20 years of financial management and budget expertise at federal, state and local levels qualifies me to make necessary evaluations and decisions that address the basic needs of our citizens at the least cost to taxpayers.
Budget: The 1982-84 biennium budget spending increased $1.5 billion over the 1980-82 biennium budget. That increase included millions of dollars of nonessential downstate special-interest spending. Budget cuts can be made to balance the budget, as the governor seeks, without affecting essential programs and services. The governor's budget cuts are directed at general administration agencies and at the increased funding over last year. His approach appears reasonable at this time and I support it. However, I believe we must scrutinize all budget items to identify and eliminate nonessential spending, including that for special interests. The specific funding changes must be based on such evaluation. Decreased state revenues makes such an evaluation vital to the equitable allocation of funds for essential programs and services such as Medicare, education and transportation. Decisive action now to keep within our means could avoid more serious budget problems in the future.
Problem: The most pressing problem requiring attention for Northern Virginia is reducing the every increasing taxes on its citizens particularly property taxes. We need more equitable distribution of our state tax dollars to pay for our roads, mass transit and education. Such programs require substantial county general funds, which come principally from real estate taxes. We made progress in the last General Assembly to obtain more of our tax dollars for Northern Virginia. For example, $28 million more for mass transit, $10 million basic aid increase in 1983 for Fairfax County's public schools and about $12 million increase in 1983 for Fairfax County's secondary roads improvement. But we must continue to push for legislative changes to ensure we get a better deal for Northern Virginia so we can reduce the onerous real property taxes for homeowners. I plan again to introduce a bill to provide homeowners with property tax relief.
David L. (Dave) Temple Jr. (D), 35, of 2697 Arlington Dr., Alexandria, is a principal in Fairfax County Public Schools. He served as an Education Policy Fellow in the federal government and has been vice chairman of the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission. He was a Democratic nominee to the House of Delegates in 1979 and 1981.
Issue: Protecting local services for senior citizens and the disabled while continuing to balance the state budget is our number one challenge. Responsibility for essential human services such as Medicare and student loans are being dumped on the doorsteps of state government without accompanying funding. Thus far, 18 states have either cut spending and/or raised taxes or settled for deficits exceeding $30 million. Fiscally responsible states like Virginia are under pressure to continue these services without busting our carefully balanced budget. Because Northern Virginia traditionally must fight to obtain our rightful slice of the fiscal pie, we must elect a delegate (a) who can work closely with Gov. Robb to assure fair treatment of Northern Virginia, and (b) who has the proven ability to manage public budgets, squeeze out the fat and protect necessary and well-run programs that serve our people.
Budget: Gov. Robb's 5 percent across-agency budget reductions accomplish at least two objectives. First, we have achieved a greater cushion against budget shortfalls because of the declining economy and sharp losses in federal aid without sacrificing necessary services. Second, the governor has reaffirmed our state's commitment to maintain and defend the fiscal integrity established through decades of sound financial management. I have always maintained that our first responsibility is to review all programs for effectiveness and to focus on eliminating waste wherever it is found. Cost savings through vigilant efforts to weed out waste and abuse could: 1) forestall further whacks into health care for elderly and handicapped citizens; 2) reduce pressure on local property taxes, and 3) provide a clear opportunity to acquire increased state support for local jails, thereby assuring that those who must be removed from the community are, in fact, removed.
Problem: Transportation continues as an urgent Northern Virginia problem. Obtaining state assistance for increasingly worrisome road and highway problems becomes an annual "grudge match" between "us" and "them." A solution lies in: 1) assuring the completion of Metrorail to Huntington; 2) changing the highway allocation formula to assure our fair share of funds for road construction and improvements, and 3) causing the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation to be more responsive to our local needs. Connecting Fort Hunt Road with Huntington Avenue via a Route 1 overpass should be a top priority. A successful revitalization of the Route 1 corridor for area residents and businesses will require substantial improvements in safety and accessibility features.