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?
C. J. (Brad) Bradshaw (D), 48, of 11913 Bluebird La., Catharpin, a former public relations consultant, was Northern Virginia media coordinator for Gov. Charles S. Robb's campaign. He is an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam and is past president of the Taxpayers Association for Prudent Spending. He is active in conservation and wildlife groups.
Issue: In 1983 the General Assembly will be faced with forging a budget with fewer available tax dollars. There will be some hard choices to make. The Assembly will not only have to deal with the normal programs but will also have to deal with new programs thrust upon it by New Federalism. There is no guarantee that these former federal programs will have sufficient amount of federal dollars to insure that the quality of these programs is maintained. It will be a continuing challenge for a legislator to deal with the budget in a fair and equitable manner. A legislator must be sensitive to the social impact of unemployment, business failures and a host of problems in recessionary times. To simply raise taxes on an already overburdened taxpayer is not the answer. The best course of action for the General Assembly to follow is to support the economic development program as proposed y Gov. Robb. As a legislator, I will support legislative initiatives to help revitalize the economy. There are broad issues of critical importance to Virginia economic development. Some of these topic areas are youth unemployment, regulatory reform, business tax policy and international trade.
Budget: Overall, I support Gov. Robb's budget cuts. His overall 5 percent budget cut with each agency determining where cuts are to be made is the best method at this time. However, if there are further cuts, then as a legislator I would press for the General Assembly to carry out its oversight function and examine the effects on each and every program. Almost any budget can withstand a 5 percent cutback. However, no program should be cut where there is a demonstratable, harmful effect on the health and welfare of the citizens.
Problem: Transportation is the problem in Northern Virginia which is most in need of legislative attention. A step toward a balanced transportation system would be to change the current unfair money allocation formula to one based on number of registered vehicles and volume miles. This more equitable formula would insure more tax dollars flowing from Richmond to the Northern Virginia area. As a legislator, I will press for this change as being fair and equitable to Northern Virginia. Another part of the transportation problem in Northern Virginia is being able to travel safely on the roads. One of the greatest threats to public safety is the drunk driver. This threat to public safety must be removed from the public highways, and I will support strong legislation to that effect.
Robert E. (Bob) Harris (R), Incumbent, 46, of 4440 Glenn Rose St., Fairfax, a group director at Rockwell International Corp., has been a delegate since 1974. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on transportation and public safety. He also represents the House on the Metropolitan Council of Governments.
Issue: Adjustments to the previously passed appropriations bill for 1982-84, as a result of declining revenues due to a softness in Virginia's economy and rising unemployment, will be the major issue facing the short session of the 1983 General Assembly. The economic uncertainty on revenues to meet critical state needs previously appropriated in the 1982 legislative session are a very real concern throughout the state. Actual revenues in fiscal 1982 grew only 7.2 percent in Virginia, while the appropriations for fiscal 1983 are predicated on a 10.9 percent growth rate. Directly related to the legislative issue of stable revenue in Virginia is that of employment opportunities for all our citizens. As the General Assembly deals constructively with budget issues, state policies relating to creating more jobs for Virginians will receive more serious consideration.I will actively oppose any new general tax increases on Virginians next year because so many families are hard pressed under present tax burdens imposed by federal, state and local governments.
Budget: As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am concerned over "selected" 5 percent cuts on Northern Virginia. The 5 percent reduction does not presently apply to aid to localities, roads, Medicaid or construction projects. It applies to state agency administration accounts and state institutions. Most state agencies were manned at 96 to 98 percent of appropriated funding levels at the start of the new state fiscal year on July 1. Thus, the reductions of 5 percent are against the increased funding over last year and appear to be reasonable at this point in time, except on Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. The cuts by Gov. Robb on increases in state funding were the result of an anticipated $60 million revenue shortfall in this year's approximately $7 billion state budget. Gov. Robb is expected to report to the House Appropriations Committee in mid-December with specific recommendations on Virginia's revised revenue forecast for action by the General Assembly in January.
Problem: Changing the funding allocation for roads to more accurately reflect critical needs in growth areas like Northern Virginia is a most important problem requiring legislative attention. Although Fairfax County will receive an increase of $15 million above present funding allocations in the next two years for roads, still more funding is needed. Prince William County is receiving over a $10 million increase above current funding in the next two years. Maintenance on current roads consumes a sizable amount of state funding since many roads carry over 50,000 vehicles per day. State resources for county roads are allocated to six major segments: interstate maintenance and construction, primary maintenance and construction, and secondary maintenance and construction. Local governments tend to talk only about secondary construction. New state studies are presently in progress by the General Assembly to reexamine the equity of present Virginia highway funding formulas, with recommendations due in December for action by the legislature next January.