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FCTA Testimony on the Virginia Budget

posted Jan 8, 2011, 10:26 AM by Arthur Purves   [ updated Mar 13, 2011, 3:24 PM ]

Testimony to the Fairfax County Delegation to the Virginia General Assembly

By Arthur G. Purves - President, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance

January 8, 2011

Distinguished Members of the General Assembly:

My name is Arthur Purves. I address you as president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance.

Virginia’s current budget crisis was preceded by a ten-year spending binge. According to the Virginia General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s Review of State Spending: 2007 Update, between 1998 and 2007, the Virginia budget doubled, from $17.6 billion to $35 billion.

The report (Table 4) states that during this period Virginia public college inflation-adjusted budgets increased three times faster than enrollment (46% vs. 15%), inflation-adjusted spending for public schools increased four times faster than enrollment (37% vs. 9%), and Medicaid spending adjusted for Medical Inflation increased four times faster than population (48% vs. 12%). Unbelievably, public school staff increased five times faster than enrollment (48% vs. 9%).

However, according to the 2010 ACT college admissions test results for Virginia, only 31 percent of the 19,236 Virginia students taking the test were prepared for college. While the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing program has accredited most schools, passing the SOL tests (“Pass Proficient”) represents “D” level work. When I queried the VDOE database to find the percent of students who scored at “Pass Advanced”, which is a much better indicator of college preparedness, the response I got was “The data you have requested would require 303 columns. The most allowed by Excel is 256. Please adjust your request to decrease the number of columns” with no guidance on how to reduce the number of columns.

College achievement is also decreasing while college tuition increases. Why does college tuition outpace inflation? I cannot find a JLARC report on the topic.

Medicaid funds healthcare for those in poverty. Isn’t the solution to educate low-income children so they can become self-supporting adults? However, despite decades of lip-service to the minority student achievement gap it is clear that our public schools, with their progressive anti-phonics, anti-drill, anti-fact, atheistic curriculum cannot close it. Why do you give state and local school boards veto authority over charter schools when these boards are unable to educate their own students?

After decades of massive public-education funding with paltry results, you should cut education spending and open the way to school competition.

Massive spending on education and healthcare is one of the major reasons there is inadequate funding for roads and bridges. The other reason is Dulles Rail. Five billion dollars for Dulles Rail is five billion diverted from road and bridge construction. The Dulles Rail project construction began without a viable financial plan. The Airports Authority will not disclose how much it will raise tolls to pay for it. The expectation is that tolls will increase ten-fold. Support Delegate LeMunyon’s bill to require Loudoun and Fairfax supervisors to vote on all toll road increases. If Dulles Rail collapses because of this, let it be a monument to reckless local and state government budgeting.

Dulles Rail is not too big to fail.

Thank you.

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