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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
November 2008

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

First of all, a quick point of pride. Congratulations to 37th District resident and Robinson Secondary graduate Andrew Dumm for winning the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 44 seconds. Coming in 5th place was Andrew’s brother Brian, and not very far behind was his father, Ken. Congratulations as well to Senator Chap Petersen, who also survived the marathon. Your State Delegate enjoys an occasional race, but prefers the kind with one less digit in the number of miles.

This Saturday, November 8th, will be my last informal coffee of the year. Please join me at Main Street Bagel from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to chat about the issues or to share your ideas for potential legislation. As always, I am also more than happy to schedule individual meetings.

Reading through the Governor’s recently released plan to deal with the $973 million shortfall for FY2009 reminded me of an important issue that is frequently discussed – but somehow never survives the legislative process. That issue is whether to enact a constitutional lock box on transportation revenue so that it cannot be diverted for other purposes. For instance, §58.1-2289 of the Code of Virginia says that the tax on gasoline is specifically dedicated to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund. In Virginia, however, the budget is actually a piece of legislation. As a result, the budget bill can be used to temporarily override other parts of the Code. Like most of my colleagues in the General Assembly, I strongly support the lock box concept.

What prompted the thought is a proposal to divert $100,000 from the Litter and Recycling Control Fund. $100,000 is a small amount when compared to transportation funding, but the principle is the same. The Litter and Recycling Control Fund is supported by special taxes established for a specific purpose. In this case, revenue is generated by taxes imposed on soft drink sales and grocery and convenience stores. The point isn’t whether litter control is more or less important than other programs. Rather, it is a matter of ensuring that when the General Assembly says we are raising revenue for a specific purpose that we honor that commitment.

So what is the problem? As with most issues, the devil is in the details. In general, the House prefers a single lock box where transportation revenue cannot be diverted for other purposes. The Senate, on the other hand, prefers a double lock box that would also preclude the use of General Funds to be used for transportation. Another twist that has been proposed is to create sub-lock boxes. Under the other two scenarios, transportation construction and maintenance would be lumped together. Sub-lock boxes would prohibit construction funding from being diverted for maintenance, and visa versa. I prefer the single lock box since there are times when it may be necessary or prudent to use the General Fund for transportation. I also oppose the sub-lock box approach, since it would interfere with the core principal that maintenance of existing infrastructure should always come before building new infrastructure.

One thing for sure is that we need to finally come to resolution on this issue – and this is the year to do it. Constitutional amendments must be passed twice by the General Assembly with an election of the House of Delegates in between before the measure can even be brought to Virginians for a vote. While there may not be money available for new transportation projects, it is critical that we address these underlying issues.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Richmond. I hope to see you for coffee this Saturday!


David Bulova

Delegate David Bulova

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Delegate Bulova at ...

Fairfax Office
9900 Main Street,
Plaza 102
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 310-6752

Richmond Office (During General Assembly Session)
Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
Room 405
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 698-1037

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