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2003-11-24 Governor Warner's myths

Myth: State spending has been reduced $6 billion since Governor Warner took office.

Arthur G. Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, today accused Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner of spreading myths to justify new taxes under the guise of tax reform.

Myth: State spending has been reduced $6 billion since Governor Warner took office.

Fact: Since Governor Warner took office in January, 2002, state spending has increased by $2.5 billion, from $23.5 billion in FY2002 to $26 billion in FY2004. Also, since 1998 Virginia spending has increased by $4 billion more than needed to keep up with population growth and inflation.

Myth: Public schools are underfunded.

Fact: According to the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission's (JLARC) Review of State Spending: June 2002 Update, Virginia inflation-adjusted spending for public schools over the past two decades has increased almost ten times faster than enrollment. (See Table 3 on page 11 of JLARC report #280.)

Myth: More state spending for public schools will ease the burden on local taxpayers.

Fact: State and local government get their revenues from the same taxpayers. This is a disingenuous argument for raising state taxes without lowering local taxes.

Myth: Higher taxes are needed to protect the state's bond rating.

Fact: The real problem is Virginia's excessive bond sales. For example, when Governor Warner raided the transportation fund, he replaced the money by selling bonds (Federal Highway Reimbursement Anticipation Notes).

Purves underscored the need for revenue neutrality. If cigarette taxes increase then sales taxes should decrease.

Mr. Purves stated, "The real issue is trust. Can you trust the Governor to tell you the truth about the budget and taxes? Can you trust the public school and welfare systems to spend tax dollars wisely?"

Mr. Purves stated that higher taxes would only reward government mismanagement. He called for an in-depth accounting for the spiraling increases in public education and welfare spending.