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?
Gwendalyn F. (Gwen) Cody (R), Incumbent, 60, of 3703 King Arthur Rd., Annandale, elected to the House last year, serves on General Laws, Militia and Police and the Chesapeake committees. A military veteran, she has been a member of the Dulles Airport Committee and the boards of several community service groups.
Issue: The economy is the biggest problem. We must provide essential government within the taxpayers' means and in a declining economy. This will require truly establishing priorities and reducing nonessential functions. The General Assembly faces a challenge with federalism. Virginians will be deciding what is best for Virginia.
Budget: The 1982-84 biennium budget is approximately 18 percent more than the budget for the preceding biennium. Under the law, the governor has to balance the budget during this biennium period. He chose to make a 5 percent cut across-the-board in the general administration agencies when he found that the projected revenues were less than expected. He did not cut funds for roads, localities, Medicaid or construction, among others. He has permitted agencies to apply for exemptions. This type of action on the part of the governor follows precedents of previous administrations. It is very likely that some programs could be reduced without harm to essential functions. Such decisions could be made only after having been privy to all the information available to the Appropriations and Finance committees.
Problem: The highway allocation formulae for secondary roads needs to be revamped so as to reflect the real needs of various areas of the state. Some elements of the present formula discriminate against Northern Virginia, which has a high traffic volume. Our roads require much maintenance and a major portion of our allocation goes to maintenance as required by statute; what is left is used for new construction. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) found that between 1967 and 1981 spending did not accurately reflect allocations of highway funds except for interstate highways. The 1982 Appropriations Act, Item 641, directed JLARC to study allocation of highway construction funds among the several highway systems and political units and to consider factors such as population, geography, vehicle registration and miles traveled, road mileage and condition, and to report to the General Assembly before the 1983 session.
Nora Anderson Squyres (D), 62, of 3705 S. George Mason Dr., Falls Church, is a Realtor with Merrill-Lynch. She is a former financial analyst, economist and intelligence officer for the U.S. government. She has a master's degree in economics and is active in the Fairfax Democratic Committee and the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors.
Issue: The most important statewide issue facing the General Assembly in 1983 will be the problem of reconciling the valid demands for funding essential state programs and services with the loss of federal revenue under the Reagan budget cuts and the probability of diminishing or inadequate state revenues. Tax cut proposals or new legislation limiting tax revenues, which might merit serious consideration under stable economic conditions, should be delayed until general business and unemployment conditions improve. Virginia has a long history of prudent fiscal management and the General Assembly should not now be deprived of the needed flexibility in budget matters. Legislators who are elected on Nov. 2 should have both the ability and the inclination to analyze the figures and make the critical decisions which the citizens of the Commonwealth expect and deserve.
Budget: Gov. Robb acted wisely in making timely reductions in allocations to avoid a possible financial crisis that shrinking revenues might produce later in the budget period. If the next General Assembly finds it necessary to make further cuts to maintain a balanced budget, I would vote to protect funds for education and essential social programs such as mental health and services for the elderly, handicapped and children. Before approving any additional major cuts, however, I would want a thorough review of the revenue side of the budget. Revenue projections have tended to understate actual revenue income, often resulting in sizable surpluses. I would also want to review tax administration and tax collection practices.
Problem: A balanced transportation system which serves the needs of all Northern Virginia residents, including completion of the entire 101-mile Metro system, is our greatest priority. This is substantiated by the overwhelming voter approval of the 1981 road construction bond referendum and the decision by the board of supervisors to place an additional road bond referendum on the 1982 ballot. Recent local hearings of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee indicate that the reason Northern Virginia does not get its fair share of road construction and repair money is the continued use of an allocation formula based on the 1976-77 level of expenditure. This approach shortchanges high-growth areas such as Northern Virginia. Instead of a rigid allocation formula, it would seem more realistic and fair to distribute highway funds on the basis of the number of registered vehicles, traffic volume and population patterns.