With just under two weeks to go until the June 11th primary for the Republican nomination for the VA 13th Senate District the mail and calls are starting to come fast and furious. Today I had no less than three mail pieces arrive at my door, one of which I just have to respond to.
Ron Meyer, who has run from social conservative issues and had to be shamed into adding position statements on abortion and the 2nd Amendment on his website, is now trying to claim the mantle of fiscal conservative. As proof of this, he sent out a mail piece that declares quite proudly:
“Fiscal Conservative Ron Meyer has made 30 motions to reduce spending”
…in four years…
You’ll have to forgive my levity at this claim. You see, I myself used to be a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors from 2004 through 2007, and between myself and my fellow Board member, Eugene Delgaudio, we would introduce more than 30 motions to cut spending EVERY YEAR.
It’s also important to note that no mention is made of how much spending Ron proposed to cut with his 30 motions. Some motions can be big, while others can be…tiny.
For instance, in either 2006 or 2007 I had to sit through a brutal session where Lori Waters proposed motion after motion for hours to cut spending by $1,000 here, $1,500 there. She even had motions to cut spending by as little as $100 (I kid you not) in a budget of OVER $1 BILLION.
When all was said and done, and everyone’s nerves were frayed over the debate between Lori and staff, she ended it all by moving to INCREASE spending by more than she had proposed cutting over those many hours by adding a new staff position to the budget (I voted against that one).
I had a little different philosophy when it came to the budget. I liked to make big moves:
- In 2004 my very first budget motion was to cut $20 Million from the School Board’s proposed budget. That year we also implemented a hiring freeze.
- In 2005, I made a motion to force the County Administrator to bring us a series of cuts that would lower the tax rate by 6%. Eugene Delgaudio and I passed that motion with a vote of 2 in favor, 1 opposed, 3 abstained, and 3 absent. Most of those cuts were adopted by the Board that year.
- In 2006 I made a motion to eliminate every single unfilled staff position which would have saved tens of millions.
- In 2007 I did away with a little annual slush fund where staff would consistently under-estimate certain building permit revenues so that at the end of the year they would show a surplus. Adjusting the numbers correctly saved about $20 million in taxpayers money.
My time on the Board of Supervisors was at the peak of the housing bubble. The average assessed value of homes was skyrocketing. From the time I took office in 2004 to the time I left in 2007 the average assessed value went from $289,300 all the way up to $504,490. An increase of over 74%. This represented a huge glut of new money coming into the county coffers and everyone was looking for ways to spend it. All warnings by me and others that we had to keep control of spending fell on mainly deaf ears…until the bubble burst in 2008 and the bottom fell out of the housing market.
Things have been a little calmer since Ron took office in 2016. The average assessed value has gone from $429,100 up to $488,000, an increase of 14% over four years. It’s much easier to keep the average tax bill steady when annual assessments aren’t increasing by double digits every year.
I realize that I may be tooting my own horn a bit touting my own fiscally conservative bona fides, and I apologize for sounding boastful, but I do it for a reason here. As a fiscal conservative (and social conservative) I know a real fiscal conservative when I see one, and Ron isn’t it. Real conservatives like Senator Dick Black, Bob Marshall, PWC Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, Treasurer Roger Zurn, and Mark Levin have lined up behind Geary Higgins for the 13th Senate District.