The Fairfax Board of Supervisors lost a battle today when a Senate committee decided the board should assume responsibility for the county's tax-free industrial development loan program.
The board had wanted to pass the responsibility for the program to the elected clerk of the circuit court, currently Democrat James E. Hoofnagle, despite new federal regulations seeking to establish greater accountability. The General Laws Committee voted 6 to 3 not to let the supervisors stay out of the multimillion dollar program.
"The fact is, the government is subsidizing industry through these bonds, and if the people don't have a voice in that through their elected representatives, then something is screwy," said Gordon C. Morse, Virginia Common Cause representative who spoke against the program.
James M. Rees, president of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the supervisors will inject politics into the industrial revenue bond program if they have to sign off on each loan. "I'm not afraid it will be politicized , I know darn well it will, because I've already seen it."
Rees said he was referring to the supervisors' misgivings over the County Economic Development Authority's now-abandoned plans to help conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie finance an office building.