Northern Virginia Leaders Ask State to Meet Funding Responsibilities
August 10, 2011 - The Mayors and Chairs of Northern Virginia sent a letter to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell today asking him to eliminate an annual $60 million across-the-board cut to localities in the state budget – a program that has turned the state-local relationship on its head by requiring “local aid to the Commonwealth.” As the economic engine of the state, Northern Virginia localities are being forced to subsidize the state even when it is experiencing revenue growth that the localities are not, the leaders wrote.
“From FY 2010 through FY 2012, nine Northern Virginia localities will have paid about $30 million in these mandated subsidies to the state, through the reductions in aid to localities included in recent budgets. Given the improvement in the state’s fiscal posture, it is time to end these local subsidies to the state,” the leaders wrote. This is in addition to significant state budget cuts to core services provided by localities in recent years.
The letter says that with a still struggling housing market, local budgets are not recovering at the same pace that the state is experiencing. At the same time, Governor McDonnell has recently touted a budget surplus. While the contribution of local governments is at least partly responsible for this “surplus,” very little of those funds will be used to fund shared state-local responsibilities in education, transportation, human services and public safety. Therefore, McDonnell should eliminate the $60 million reduction in aid to localities in the FY2012 budget, and remove the reduction from the upcoming two-year budget, as a downpayment in the restoration of state funding for core services
“In this tough economic climate, Fairfax County residents should be able to count on their tax dollars being used in Fairfax County and not sent elsewhere,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “Ending this reduction will help us maintain and improve the quality of life that makes Fairfax County such a great place.”
The leaders wrote: “Restoring the critical state-local funding partnership will strengthen the fiscal position of local governments throughout Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth, and thereby strengthen Virginia’s economy overall.”
The letter was signed by Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, Arlington Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, Loudoun County Board Chairman Scott York, Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Manassas Mayor Harry J. Parrish II, Fairfax City Mayor Robert Lederer, Falls Church Mayor Nader Baroukh, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones.