The Right Note: Five Numbers to Think About

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Mark KellyI. 4.6 percent — The tax increase the average Arlingtonian faces even after a one-cent tax rate reduction. Fairfax passed a half-cent rate increase which pushed their dollar for dollar tax increase slightly above Arlington’s — up $357 versus $324. But, it will not be enough for Fairfax to overtake us in the race for the highest average tax bill. The Board could have and should have gone farther.

II. 41 percent — The percentage of Virginians who support expanding Medicaid. The Christopher Newport University poll seems to indicate that Virginians have no faith that the federal government will pay the promised cost share. The federal share is not slated to drop below 100 percent till the end of Gov. McAuliffe’s term, so he is betting on never having to figure out how to pay for any of it. These poll numbers reflect the reality that a nation approaching $20 trillion in debt will be unable to pay for a program that is already full of broken promise. Terry McAuliffe and the Senate Democrats may shut down the Virginia government over the promise “if you like your federal cost share you can keep it,” but it would be an ill-advised move.

III. $310 million — Not that anyone needs reminding that the Columbia Pike trolley will hang (at least) this much debt around Arlingtonians. But, the CIP fight is around the corner. It is where presumably the triumvirate of Fisette, Hynes and Tejada will reveal their plans to pay for it. As I wrote last week, Hynes and Tejada face the voters again in 2015 and would be most susceptible to public pressure to reject the project.

IV. 15 — The number of races on the ballot in Arlington in 2015 (Look for local Democrats use the double 15s in the name of their joint campaign). John Vihstadt’s success in a low turnout special election will hopefully encourage other candidates to emerge next year — a year that typically produces the lowest November general election voter interest. A little more competition in politics would be welcome news for taxpayers in a county where Democrats hold 14 of the 15 seats.

V. 1 — The number of Democrats threatened to be kicked out of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Libby Garvey is likely to be removed for supporting John Vihstadt in the special election. I have not seen the ACDC membership roster, but I suspect Ms. Garvey was not the only Vihstadt supporter on the list. A removal will not prevent her from seeking the Democrats’ nomination in 2016. However, we can only assume it is being done to hamstring her in what will almost certainly be a contested primary.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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