Reader challenges local newspaper's
credibility, objectivity; it supports every tax and demonizes all who
ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY VIRGINIAN PILOT!
The Virginian Pilot editorial of August 30th entitled "Reality and
illusion at play in Nov 5 vote" again castigates anyone who disagrees
with its all-knowing group of editorial writers. The only paper in town
has consistently and enthusiastically supported every tax to come down the
pike and demonizes anyone who dares to disagree with it.
Regarding the Nov 5th tax referendum, the Virginian Pilot initially
labeled those opposed to the tax increase as wanting to "keep people
in ignorance." Now those opposed are accused of "offering
illusions" while the mighty paper deals in "reality." Next
the opponents of the tax increase will probably be accused of wanting to
take everyone's first born!
The paper also touts the establishment's illusionary mantra that "if
you do not like the projects to be funded with the November 5th tax
increase, you come up with something better." This is illusionary
thinking. In America, if the citizens do not like what the government
proposes to do with its confiscation of our hard earned income, the
government has the responsibility to come up with something better.
The Virginian Pilot, in its monopolistic role, also fails to address other
realities and instead itself offers illusions, fear and deception. Here
are a few illusions and related realities.
1. Illusion. This 22% tax increase will unclog bottlenecks and choke
points. Reality. Little will be done to improve the rush hour traffic and
commute to the Naval Base and downtown Norfolk and the intra-city traffic
that all local cities suffer. By the way, every large city has rush hour
traffic and peak period problems, even those with mass transit.
2. Illusion. There is a crisis and if we reject this tax increase,
the" world as we know it will end." Reality. It will take at
least twenty years to complete these projects. So, delaying for a year or
so while our elected representatives go back to Richmond and do their job,
or resign, will not result in all the "Chicken Little" scares
being pandered In fact, a recent study indicted that our traffic has
reduced somewhat so we have time to do the right thing. Also, Senator
Stolle said that the Southeastern Parkway would be built no matter what
3. Illusion. The ballot promises that every penny of the 22% tax increase
will be used "solely" for the projects and "like a promise
made between good neighbors, it's a commitment that can be counted
on." Reality. In 1986, we were told that if we raised the sales tax
½% for roads, that all would be ok. Here we are still paying that tax and
now more is wanted. Since this new tax will be on our backs for at least
61 years and those making the "commitment" will be long gone,
whom can we count on?
4. Illusion. The 22% sales tax increase is only equal to a $1 Coca Cola
per day. Reality. It will cost each member of your household a $1 Coca
Cola per day and it will increase at 6.71% per year. At the end of 61
years each family will have paid $92,177.69.
5. Illusion. The sales tax referendum's main purpose is to approve a $5.9
billion bond issue for the projects. Reality. The 22% sales tax increase
is of main importance. Over 61 years it will provide $109, 921,894,593.12
or $109 billion to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC)
to do something with.
6. Illusion. All the "projects" will get built and that is all
we are paying for. Reality. The enabling legislation states three time
that "all or a portion " of the projects can be built. It also
allows money to be moved from one project to another and we will be paying
for "operating and maintenance costs" on the roads and tunnels.
Additionally, any costs HRPDC incurs in administering our tax dollars and
getting these projects built will be paid for. What will that be,
additional staff, more office space and computers? We are buying a pig in
7. Illusion. The projects will cost us only $5.9 billion. Reality. Already
the stated cost of the projects is over $7 billion and they have not yet
been designed or built by our famous Virginia Department of Transportation
(VDOT) who has problems with reality. Although only $200 million of bond
sales income is going to Hampton Roads Transportation for passenger
rail/magnetic Levitation service and support bus services, the actual
amount of our tax dollars that could be spent here is almost unlimited.
Without anyone's approval, tens of billions could be spent in this area on
whatever HRPDC and VDOT want to do!
8. Illusion. All these projects are most important to us and thus we
should pay for them. Reality. Most of the 22% tax increase will benefit
the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). Only 25% of the cargo going through the
ports is from this region. The larger commodities of rubber, tobacco and
beer do not originate or stay in this region. The ports support 129,000
jobs. Even if 50,000 of those are local, the other regions of the state
and other states benefit, but we are to pay all the cost. Even VPA and the
state were going to contribute $200 million to the projects and now no
mention of it is made.
So mighty Virginian Pilot, if you are really interested in reality, why
not sponsor a true exchange of views regarding the November 5th 22% tax
increase. Publish this article and encourage more from all sides. The YES
Campaign refuses to debate the issues. I assume that you as journalists in
search of the truth are not so afraid.
BK - Virginia Beach