May 4, 2009
April 14, 2009
Paul C. Smedberg, Democratic Candidate for Alexandria City Council
You have asked a number of questions with respect to my positions on various tax and budget issues. In my view, the number one obligation of the City Council is to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. In my six years on Council, I have consistently identified fiscal responsibility as the number one issue for our City. I have held this view for many years before I was first elected to Council, including my days on the City’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee. It is clear to me that we cannot do the things we desire to do as a City unless our fiscal house is strong and unless our financial policies have wide support of taxpayers.
In this severe economic downturn, we must prioritize spending so that essential community needs go to the top of the list – public safety, public health and public education – and non-essential items are deferred or dropped altogether. I have pushed for audits of City departments to achieve greater efficiencies and those audits are now producing significant savings. I have advocated lower tax rates and I will continue to look for ways to reduce the tax rate below that proposed by the City Manager.
In order to reduce the residential real property tax burden, I favor encouraging economic growth and diversifying revenues. Economic growth results in needed revenues from commercial sources. The percentage of revenues derived from residential taxpayers has been too high and I would like to see a better balance. Finally, the City must continue efforts to find sources of revenues other than the real property tax, including setting appropriate fees that are comparable to neighboring jurisdictions. These new sources must be viewed as a means to replace (not add to) property taxes.
April 9, 2009
Check out the results!
February 13, 2009
Alexandria Taxpayers United President Bud Miller is asking city council candidates to complete a short survey. The survey will be used as a guide for citizens to assess the candidates on their stances regarding local tax and budgeting issues. Here is the letter sent to the 2009 candidates:
To Alexandria City Council Candidates:
We would greatly appreciate it if you could respond to the attached questionnaire regarding your position on several Alexandria area tax and budgeting issues. The questionnaire should only take a few minutes to complete, as we are only asking a total of seven questions.
While the ATU does not endorse candidates, we do help educate voters on local tax and budgeting issues and we believe the attached questionnaire will help voters better understand each candidate’s positions on these issues.
It would be very helpful if you can get your response to us by Monday, March 16th at 5:00 pm.
Alexandria Taxpayers United (ATU) is a non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer organization dedicated to educating taxpayers, the media, and elected officials on the merits of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, and government accountability.
Thank you for your consideration and for your service to our Community.
February 12, 2009
The Commonwealth wants to help out their citizens. Virginia has set up a website which allows citizens and organizations to submit funding proposals to the state. These funds of course will be coming from their cut of the $1.2 trillion stimulus package.
Instead of submitting requests for program funding, go to the website and request funding for TAX CUTS. Give them an actual solution to stimulate the economy: put the money back into the taxpayers’ pockets!
February 9, 2009
Alexandria’s previously estimated $10.5 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year is continuing to grow. Even with the projected real estate revenue loses being lower than expected, other revenue projections have not followed suit.
Reasons for the growing budget shortfall include a 50% decline in business licenses, as well as the cities 324 foreclosures so far this year. Alexandria also owes Fairfax County around $1 million in sales tax and real estate tax settlement refunds. The forecast for the 2010 budget is equally troubling. Revenue projects for the 2010 fiscal year (beginning July 1), are around $35 million less than previously projected.
$6.1 million in spending cuts are currently being implemented. Is this budget shortfall for both the current fiscal year and the 2010 budget a sign of tax hikes on the horizon?
February 6, 2009
Thursday night marked a victory in the ongoing campaign to promote transparency and accountability in government. The Virginia Senate Finance Committee passed Senator Cuccinelli’s SB 936, which will provide a searchable database website of state budget expenditures, appropriations and revenues. This new website will allow the taxpayers to monitor exactly how their money is being spent in Virginia.
The House companion bill (H.R. 2285) Sponsored by Rep. Cline, passed the House Committee on Science and Technology on February 2nd, and is now in the House Appropriations Committee. According to the language in the bill, the site must be launched for public use no later than July 1, 2010.
December 15, 2008
The United States Conference of Mayors sent this porky wish list to the Hill last week. They’re calling it “America’s Mayors Report to the Nation on Projects to Strengthen Metro Economies and Create Jobs Now.”
Alexandria was on the list.
The City wants $2,400,000 to purchase four hybrid vehicle converted trolleys and initiate City‐run trolley service to replace existing contractor service. Trolley available as a free service 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in Alexandria historic Old Town district.
How exactly will replacing an existing trolley service (which overlaps with the DASH bus service) with new trolleys help to stimulus economic growth?
The latest spending outrage:
Faced with painful choices about who will suffer most from looming budget cuts, Alexandria officials have taken the unusual step of paying a professional ethicist to help them grapple with the moral issues involved.
Cost to local taxpayers: $9,000 annual consulting fee.
Don’t we elect City Council members to make these hard choices?
I didn’t see Alexandria seek the advice of ethicists when they made the moral decision to take more of their residents’ hard-earned money through higher taxes.