- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 23, 2002

Virginia lawmakers, stung by the resounding defeat of Gov. Mark Warner's proposed increase in the state sales tax, have decided to quit pushing new and higher taxes as the catch-all solution to state budget woes. All to the good. However, while openly favoring the fleecing of taxpayers is now on the back burner, dire warnings about looming cuts in vital services have taken center stage.
Mr. Warner himself initiated the sturm und drang by closing several DMV offices a move no doubt intended to give the appearance of a cut-to-the-bone government barely able to keep even basic functions in operation. That's nonsense, of course dishonest, demagogic nonsense.
Richmond has plenty of money. Like the funding for the Center for Innovative Technology near Dulles Airport, which uses millions of taxpayer dollars promoting business investment in the area. Also, the state maintains a monopoly on the sale of hard liquor through the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) board, which, perhaps, should be privatized. And what about the duplicative state bureaucracies that exist solely to perpetuate themselves at taxpayer expense? Those wasteful bureaucracies not services should be on the chopping block.
It's outrageous that Mr. Warner and his supporters would even hint that legitimate state services and functions be cut, while state money pits continue to be funded. The idea that the Northern Virginia technology corridor home to so many leading-edge companies needs the government to promote investment and so forth may need rethinking. And why should Richmond control the sale of liquor? It's not 1935 any longer.
Virginia's government ran fat and happy during the boom years growing at an unprecedented rate and taking in historically high amounts of taxpayer dollars. Now that the boom has gone bust, the state must learn to live within its means much like the ordinary taxpayers who must work to feed the beast.

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