Letter: The run for the crown
As the candidates threw their hats in the ring for the Honorable Virginia Delegate Mr. Harvey Morgan’s 98th District seat in the General Assembly, the race for the August primary was underway. Their experience and platforms need analyzing with a fine-toothed comb. Education, with funding and mandates, is always on top of the list to garner the citizen’s vote. The largest bloc of voters is associated with the educational system and their splinter organizations; therefore, the candidates will make their primary run along this track.
All have mentioned the shortfalls of the Composite Index as a method for school funding. The consensus is to place the total burden of funding at the county level and some revising of the process at the state level. The index as shown is weighted by the following percentages: property, 50 percent*; income, 40 percent; and retail sales, 10 percent. Each locality’s index is adjusted to maintain an overall statewide share of 45 percent and overall share of 55 percent. *Note: The true value of real property in Gloucester is known to be flawed for years.
If the locality was totally funding the school budget, what tax revenue laws will the state be returning to the division to support this local effort? The state allocation for the 2011-12 school budget is $27 million with a local contribution of $20.5 million. One can see the state revenue collections would be greatly reduced, where the tax increases locally will be the opposite to support an annual budget. What the citizen Never, Never needs is the Virginia Department of Education being granted taxing authority by the General Assembly.
The run for the crown has now begun; it will be interesting to see how the candidates will appeal to the voters along with other "logical" platform incentives.
Gloucester Point, Va.