Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day: November 2, 2010

Tomorrow is Election Day and you need to make you get out to vote. If you do not know where to vote, you can find your polling place here.

I live in Hollin Hall Precinct and I intend to vote for my current Congressman, Congressman Jim Moran. I have personally known Jim since he was first elected in 1990. Since then he has worked tirelessly to represent the interest of our district. He has helped secure millions of dollars for transportation improvements including:
  • The Woodrow Wilson Bridge reconstruction;
  • Stimulus dollars to complete the Fairfax County Parkway;
  • Millions to fund the Richmond Highway Express (REX) Bus on U.S. 1;
  • Millions to recondition the George Washington Memorial Bike Trial; and
  • He is currently on the cusp of securing $150 million to widen U.S. 1 south of Woodlawn which I have blogged about extensively on this blog.
He has fought the Army to appropriately help us deal with the consequences of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), and has been an effective voice on dozens of other issues.

My district also includes six precincts in the Eleventh Congressional District. If I lived there I would vote for Congressman Gerry Connolly. He keenly understands Northern Virginia's people and its economy and has been one of the most effective members of the freshman class of which he was elected president. Both Jim and Gerry are true partners for Mount Vernon who understand the importance of working together to obtain real results for Mount Vernon's residents.

There are also three Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. I will be voting yes on all three.

Question #1
Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation that will permit localities to establish their own income or financial worth limitations for purposes of granting property tax relief for homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled?

Localities throughout Virginia can currently be allowed by the General Assembly to grant full or partial exemptions from real estate taxes to persons 65 years of age or older or for persons permanently and totally disabled if those persons "are deemed by the General Assembly to be bearing an extraordinary tax burden." The proposed amendment would instead allow cities, counties and towns to make the determination of who qualifies for such exemptions.

I supported this legislation and I will also be voting in favor of this amendment. Virginia is a diverse place, high property taxes are significant concern for many Mount Vernon seniors and I support measures to provide relief to seniors with limited income and assets from higher taxes who never anticpated having to spend $7,000+ in taxes per year to live in a house in Mt. Vernon that originally cost $30,000.

Question #2
Shall the Constitution be amended to require the General Assembly to provide a real property tax exemption for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability?

This amendment was introduced by Senator Toddy Puller. Virginia has a large population of military veterans- many in Mt. Vernon and Northern Virginia. In the past 9 years, we've seen many service men and women returning home with lifelong injuries and disabilities suffered in the line of duty. Out of respect and gratitude for their service, it seems only fair that accommodations be made for them. Senator Puller introduced this amendment to require the General Assembly to pass a law exempting disabled veterans from real property taxes. I support this amendment.

Question #3
Shall Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to increase the permissible size of the Revenue Stabilization Fund (also known as the "rainy day fund") from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth's average annual tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?

After seeing how the budget process works in the worst budget cycle in 70 years and the consequences of having an inadequate Rainy Day Fund, I was more convinced than ever that we needed to take steps to improve our Rainy Day Fund. I was the only cosponsor of this Constitutional Amendment in the House of Delegates in addition to its sponsor, Delegate John O'Bannon. On the Senate side, the legislation was sponsored by Senator George Barker.

Just as it is important to keep a "rainy day fund" at home, I strongly believe that we need to pass this amendment so that the Commonwealth can accumulate proper cash reserves in event of a significant economic downturn.

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