Monday, January 17, 2011

Common sense in Richmond

As the General Assembly begins its new session, I'm hopeful that some common sense will prevail. Roanoke has gone through enormous budget cuts - many of which should have occurred, and we've gotten to the point where we have very few areas to reduce services without having long-term impacts on our local economy, social network and core service levels.

I understand that, like Roanoke, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a significant budget deficit. I also understand that raising taxes during a struggling economy reduces short-term economic recovery. And I largely agree (meals tax not indicative!).

The result of continued cuts to public education and comprehensive services that the city must offer citizens creates short-term budget balancing capabilities, though I would contend the long-term economic recovery will be weaker and less stable. Once we eliminate core functions of schools and local government, those who use these services as foundations to future success and an ability to break cycles of poverty will be set back years. This isn't in the best interests of our communities or the Commonwealth, and though politically the short-term benefits seem desirable, the long-term implications are less than desirable.

Let's hope that common sense prevails in Richmond this year. Let's hope that there's a high expectation for civil and productive discourse. Disagreeing on issues is understandable. Attacking others for this philosophical divide at a personal level, or a level solely intended for political gain and targeted towards the next election cycle, is not what those we represent expect or deserve.

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