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Purves Presentation to Fx Co Board on the County Budget

From: Arthur Purves, President, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance (www.fcta.org)

Testimony for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors FY2017 Budget Hearing - 04/04/2017

Madam Chairman and Members of the Board:

My name is Arthur Purves. I address you as president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance.

As in years past, county and school administrators continue misleading voters about the budget. The County Executive states that since FY2008 the county eliminated 753 positions and reduced funding by $344 million. He did not state that since FY2008 the county added 429 positions and increased non-school disbursements by $353 million.

School administrators state that since FY2008, schools eliminated 2,200 positions and reduced spending by "over one-half billion dollars". In fact, since FY2008, schools added 1836 positions, and increased spending by $660 million.

We are distributing a new Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance palm card that shows county and school spending and tax trends since FY2000. County and school administrators begin their budget trends in FY2008, the year the housing bubble burst. They do not include the enormous spending increases that occurred during the housing bubble, between FY2000 and FY2008, when assessments nearly tripled and real estate taxes doubled.

Since FY2000, county General Fund expenditures have increased five times faster than population (94% vs. 18%). The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) operating fund has increased five times faster than enrollment (108% vs. 21%), which may surprise Washington Post readers, who are told that county revenue is not increasing fast enough to cover a growing student population ("Fairfax, Va.'s largest county, again trims budget requests, as revenues stay tepid,' 2/14/17). Despite the school board's claims of excellence, only one FCPS high school has more than 90% of students prepared for college, and only three other high schools have over 70% prepared for college. This is according to the FCPS 2016 ACT test results, which school administrators do not publish.

During the current chairman's tenure on the board of supervisors, real estate taxes for the typical Fairfax County homeowner have increased 154% (from $2,400 to $6,100), or almost four times faster than household income.

Why don't Republican supervisors offer budget amendments to cut taxes instead of just cutting tax increases? It is because the Republican Party has surrendered three key principles to the Left.

First, Republicans surrendered when the 17th Amendment ended the selection of senators by state legislatures. The Founding Fathers knew that democracy often becomes demagoguery and that the democratically elected House of Representatives would be prone to excess, which would be tempered by a Senate that was not democratically elected.

Second, Republicans surrendered to the welfare state. The Left says that Constitution mandates that government guarantee a pension, medical care, education, housing, and food. The alternative view is that the individual is responsible for these things and government's role is to provide freedom, safety, and low taxes to provide the opportunity to provide for oneself and to produce excess to share with those in need through private charity.

Without the 17th Amendment this massive, unsustainable expansion of Federal power may well have been blocked by state-appointed senators.

Third, Republicans surrendered to secularism when the Warren Court declared the teachings of Moses and Jesus Christ to be unconstitutional in government settings. The casualty is marriage, where now 40% of children are born out of wedlock and on Medicaid. Real government occurs not in boardrooms and legislatures but in families whose priority is teaching their children moral standards. Government is going broke trying to compensate for failure in the home. The Republicans' lead issue should have been and should be overturning the Warren Court decisions. Reconstitution of marriage and family is the prerequisite to real tax cuts.

Republicans are actors on the Left's stage and are captives of the Left's rules. We hope that changes.

Thank you.