From: Thomas Cranmer, First Vice President, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance
Thank you for providing the opportunity for citizens to present their concerns about your seven billion dollar budget. I support the comments Arthur Purves, James Ruland and Charles McAndrew made two days ago.
Upper and middle class people are being driven out of Fairfax to Loudoun and Prince William due to high taxes, as documented on the web site of How Money Walks. I described this in my testimony last year and the information has been on the web site fcta.org. How many on the Board have looked at it and analyzed the causes? The budget document does not provide an analysis, other than to recognize the county is getting poorer. Why?
It is important to recognize, analyze and justify to the public why the budget and salaries have grown far faster than inflation, and the impact on residents. This has not been done, and should be.
Representatives of the Department of Management and Budget told me no comparisons with private sector salaries have been made. Why? When I was with the State Department, the HR people regularly did comparisons with private sector salaries.
When I worked for Mobil Oil, a consultant reviewed the staffing of Mobil in the 1990s and recommended one-third of the staff be terminated, and most of the rest of the positions be downgraded. Why hasn't the Board of Supervisors called in a consultant to review the costs versus benefits of the staffing patterns?
A major cost of the staff is the subsidy for pensions and health care. Most private sector companies have gone to having the cost of pensions borne by the employees in the form of 401(k) and IRA plans. Why haven't Fairfax County and the school system gone to defined contribution plans, rather than defined benefit plans? Where is the analysis?
Why aren't the county and school deductibles and premiums for health care in line with Obamacare? Have you gone to Healthcare.gov and looked at the numbers in the Kaiser Foundation calculator for various levels of salaries for the three plans?
Speaking of subsidies, where can I find an analysis and presentation of the subsidies for buses and the Metro in the budget? The staff of Fairfax County couldn't find this information. Why? Fortunately WMATA, the Metro organization, published the information about Fairfax County's subsidy of $100 million per year. With roughly one million people in Fairfax, that's a tax of $100 per man, woman and child, or $400 per family of four. There's no information provided about the annual subsidy per Metro rider; why not?
The budget documents lack an analysis of what the annual expenditure is for the new bicycle lanes per bicyclist and per bicycle trip. I rarely see anyone on a bicycle in the lanes, or even on the Fairfax County Parkway. Similarly for the walkways and trails proposed, how many people are expected to use them and on an annual cost basis, what is the cost per person?
The roadways are getting increasingly congested, and that is driving people out, along with high taxes. The study last year of the Dulles Corridor explicitly said congestion would increase and that was ok. Why?
The Board has a wish list of road expansion projects, but the office of Management and Budget has been unable to provide information on what the annual budget is for the road expansions planned. It appears Fairfax is waiting for money from some rich uncle.
They also could not provide information on expenditures for specific projects like Route 7, the circulator system in Tysons and Schedule 7 for Tysons. Why?
Fairfax residents like to say the school system is great. There's no publicity or analysis about ACT scores showing only 54% of Fairfax students taking the test being prepared for college. What's great about this? Why?
National studies have shown there is an inverse relationship between school district expenditures per student and test scores. That means expenditure per student is not the driving factor for test scores and learning.
The SAT results for the U.S. show a direct relationship between family income and test results. The SAT organization leaves it to counties to publicize the full test results, but Fairfax does not publish all the information that the SAT organization provides. Why?
With increasing expenditures every year for the schools, black student test scores have remained flat for five years. Why hasn't there been a serious analysis?
Please provide the answers that I requested. Thank you for considering my requests.
Thomas L. Cranmer / 221 Donmore Dr / Great Falls, VA 22066 / Tel: 703-450-6576.