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Conservatives Richard Falknor on 10 Jun 2012 12:20 pm

UPDATED! Maryland & Virginia: GOP County Pols Going Wild With Taxpayer Money?

UPDATE AUGUST 4! Ned Ryun (American Spectator) explains – “The crime scene is local. Make no mistake, our communities—not Washington, D.C.—are the real battlegrounds of our fiscal crisis, and the trenches where America’s future will be decided. They are also the stage on which massive national change can occur. If we can win there, in thousands of municipalities across the country, we can force the debate, and the nation itself, in the right direction.” (Emphasis Forum’s.)
UPDATE JULY 3! Liz Essley (Washington Examiner) reports“Loudoun County OKs Metro Silver Line project” – – “The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 Tuesday to extend the rail line through the airport and into the county after months of political wrangling and number crunching. The county will have to pay at least $270 million toward the rail line’s $2.7 billion second phase, which will extend the Silver Line from Reston into Loudoun.”
UPDATE JUNE 24! Ann Corcoran (PTPR) confesses this morning: “The Washington County Ruling Class and why I was wrong in my testimony at Rail-Trail public hearing” explaining “the promoters of this boondoggle aren’t primarily Republicans they are the members of the Ruling Class—some call themselves Republicans or Democrats, but Ruling Class is the best description! Please everyone take a few minutes and visit Angelo Codevilla’s seminal work on the Ruling Class vs. the Country Class in which the former professor of International Relations tells us it doesn’t matter whether the participants are Republicans or Democrats, the real political battle is between those who view themselves as the smart people, you know the cool people, who believe they are entitled to be the RULING CLASS”. 
UPDATE JUNE 15! Potomac Tea Party Report editor Ann Corcoran reveals “Washington County Republicans invite DNR into county landuse decisions” warning “Tea Partiers everywhere need to be vigilant, just because we elected Republicans doesn’t mean we elected fiscal watchdogs and defenders of property rights.” (Underscoring Forum’s).

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MD & VA: GOP County Politicians Going Wild With Taxpayer Money?

“Estimates from the Cato Institute and Credit Suisse put states’ unfunded health-care liabilities alone north of $1 trillion. And economists Robert Novy-Marx (of the University of Chicago) and Joshua Rauh (of Northwestern University) find that pension funds are short by more than $3 trillion. These numbers are enormous, but their true magnitude becomes more clear when they are placed in fuller context. Consider that the total outstanding bond debt of state and local governments is about $2.4 trillion. If one accounts for pension and health-care debts using the figures supplied by Novy-Marx and Rauh (among others), the total outstanding obligations of the states rises to as much as $6.4 trillion—meaning that our sub-national governments are nearly three times further in the red than they appear to be at first glance.[Underscoring Forum’s] ”– Josh Barro 2011 (scroll down in foregoing link)

This is a short free-market-oriented tour of three counties – Loudoun in Virginia, Carroll and Washington in Maryland, all of which have boards here, here, and here composed entirely of GOP members.

Majorities on each of these governing boards appear either to be pushing unwise budgets (Carroll) or getting behind questionable public works (Washington and Loudoun). 

This is in a time when the debt of the United States at the end of last week was approaching $16 trillion, and new debt-limit-increase negotiations are expected at the end of this year.

Nor apparently are Maryland and Virginia politicians giving any serious thought to imminent severe defense cutbacks which could devastate some local economies.

These proposed local excesses in Washington County and unwise fiscal decisions in Carroll County are doing their bit to keep national and state debt totals high.

These missteps illustrate, however, the fact that many local GOP politicians simply don’t “get it” about constantly growing government.

Playing Lord and Lady Bountiful with taxpayer money is surely easier than deregulating wherever possible, privatizing wherever sensible, making the county “administrative state” (civil service) really accountable, and probing and analyzing the effectiveness of the school budget.

And these missteps also illustrate why conservatives must not stay just on the case of a risk-averse GOP Congressional leadership, but also apply plain-vanilla conservative rules right down to the county and small municipal levels.

We can’t maintain our vigilance only over Washington, D. C. politicians where we can generally remonstrate at a distance. We must also bring our watchfulness into play right at home by tracking  our local officials even if they happen to be our friends and neighbors, or business associates.

Do Washington County Commissioners Dream of  Bread and Circuses?

Is This How the Commissioners and the Hagerstown Mayor See A New Sports Center?

Ever watchful Potomac Tea Party Report editor Ann Corcoran Friday declared in her “Washington County Republican County Commissioners might as well be big-spending Democrats” – –

“They don’t seem to understand that taxpayers can’t afford boondoggles in this day and age—first they are pushing a grandiose sport stadium plan for downtown Hagerstown and they are serious about a 23-mile biking trail for recreational fun, fun, fun by resurrecting the long-dead plan for a Weverton to Roxbury hiking/biking trail that landowners thought they killed 20 years ago.[Highlighting Forum’s.]

I wrote a post when the biking trail first reared its ugly head in January.  I truly thought the idea was so ridiculous in light of every Maryland counties’ budget woes—Washington County is already under water with pension liabilities, just wait until the pension bills O’Malley has foisted on counties comes due—that they couldn’t be serious.

What is happening here is precisely what Tea Party activists nationwide have warned—electing Republicans does not always guarantee government will be fiscally responsible.   We must be ever watchful, and be ready to ‘primary’ any Republicans who go wild with taxpayers money (or take citizens’ property rights)as we see happening in Washington County right now!”

Long-time-property-rights-defender (“You bet we’ll sue”–scroll down to p. 5 in foregoing link) Corcoran also challenged Tea Partiers – –

“Note to Tea Partiers everywhere—you have to pick some political battles and win them!  You have to bore in and do the hard work to defeat some lavish spending projects or some liberal legislative initiative and not just be a gadfly or gnat buzzing about and saying ‘tsk, tsk!’ to this and ‘tsk, tsk!’ to that, if you want to have political power that elected officials fear.”

C. J. Lovelace (Herald Mail) in his April 30, 2012 “Hagerstown, Washington County officials meeting Tuesday to discuss multiuse center: Funding options for the $30 million facility expected to be part of conversation” reveals – –

“The private sector remains an important piece of the puzzle if the city hopes to receive one-third of the funding from the Maryland Stadium Authority, which prefers projects to receive one-third of the capital from private investments. The city and county would be responsible for the remaining one-third.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Washington County enthusiasts for a new sports center might want to visit Steve Malanga’s (Wall Street Journal) cautionary tale about taxpayers bankrolling stadiums here.

“In 1999, Fresno conceived plans to revive its downtown area with various projects, including a baseball stadium for the minor-league Grizzlies, which it had lured from Phoenix. The city’s redevelopment agency floated some $46 million in bonds to build the stadium. But the Grizzlies fizzled in their new home, demanded a break on rent, threatening to skip town and stick taxpayers with the entire $3.4 million annual bond payment on the facility. The team is now receiving $700,000 in annual subsidies to stay in the city.”

Reporter Lovelace (Herald Mail) looks at the possible “deal” with the Hagerstown Suns in his May 5, 2012 article “Stadium no guarantee Suns will stay in Hagerstown: Majority owner says site, amenities are two top factors in choosing between Hagerstown and Winchesterhere.

“A site for a stadium and certain amenities are two top factors to be considered when choosing between Hagerstown and Winchester, Quinn said. Two amenities that are a priority for him in Hagerstown, Quinn said, are a stadium club with premium seating and a dining facility for fans, and an arcade on the concourse for children and families.”

Is all this the proper business of government?  Especially during a national debt crisis?  On what planet are the Washington County commissioners and the Hagerstown mayor living?

Two Carroll County Commissioners Fight a Losing Battle For Wise Spending

Conservative Carroll County has five GOP commissioners.  But only two apparently are conservative warriors:  Richard Rothschild and Robin Frazier.  

Many conservatives know Mr. Rothschild as a national figure fighting Agenda 21 and “Sustainability” from Virginia to California while organizing with Mrs. Frazier a world-class conference against PlanMaryland.

Apparently this prophet is without honor, however, among three of his local GOP commissioners who don’t get or are unwilling to battle for conservative principles.

According to Kym Byrnes of the Eldersburg Patch, commissioner Robin Frazier explained that it is a mistake to plan on increasing revenues in FY 13 and FY14.

Adds (Westminster Patch) commissioner Rich Rothschild – –

“’I do not believe this budget is conservative by any definition of the term, and I will not vote for it,’ Rothschild said.  ‘No budget can be considered conservative if routine recurring expenditures exceed routine recurring revenues.’”

The Dulles Rail Giant Earmark: The Gift That Keeps on Taxing

Last Monday in our Dulles Metrorail: Is Loudoun Losing Control of Its Future? we chronicled how key GOP members of the House of Representatives launched (with Federal money and legislative arm-twisting) this Leviathan which will likely dominate Loudoun County finances. 

Even Ken Reid, a Loudoun Supervisor way above average in perception and candor, apparently embraces a perilous bargain.

“ Loudoun Board Metro Rail Naysayer May Vote Yes, If Money Is Also Planned For Roads” reports Peggy Fox (WUSA) late last Thursday – –

“There’s still hope for Metro into Loudoun, even with naysayers like Ken Reid, if there’s money for roads in the plan. ‘If we can set aside a special fund that would include highway projects and our buses, then I could support that, maybe,’ said Reid. That would involve a tax hike, which is never an easy task.”

Later business-editor Reid seemed to fog his position with a mind-bending double-negative – –

“I do not believe Richmond will help us, but I also don’t believe our Republican board will not vote for a property tax increase for a special transportation  fund without rail being part of it.”

The Loudoun Establishment has bought into the Dulles Rail to Loudoun scheme which now has its own well-financed momentum.

Opponents must understand that there is no way to be effective here without confronting Loudoun Republican chieftains who cannot distinguish business friendly from market friendly (click here and scroll down), and who see picking business winners and losers as a legitimate role for government.

Publisher (here and here) Corcoran recommends we must be ready to primary any Republican who “goes wild” with taxpayers’ money.

The policy brief against bringing Dulles Rail to Loudoun County is surely conclusive.

But nothing is likely to stop the Loudoun Board of Supervisors from approving that predatory plan except the credible threat of a primary to enough of their number.

Loudoun Supervisors need to see political organizing against Dulles Rail.  The opposition can no longer rely exclusively on arguments however solid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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