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Mccoart Administration Center
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Every year, we young reporters in Prince William County would gather at the county's McCoart Administration Center for the annual budget kabuki dance. And quite a dance it was. Every year, the county staffers would ask for much more money — 9, 10, 12 percent increases. The school system, too. Sometimes, the far higher proposed spending budgets would require increases to tax rates. Teachers, union officials and county gadflies would pack the county building for the show.
Twenty-five years ago, I started out as a reporter in Prince William County, Va. Back then, a slew of young reporters were cutting their teeth in the hinterland near Washington, D.C. — John Harris, the great Washington Post reporter and editor of Politico; Pierre Thomas, also at the Post then but now senior Justice Department correspondent for ABC News; and the talented Laurie Kellman, a colleague at the Prince William Journal now on the Hill for The Associated Press.