John Kalitka of Arlington is my most persistent commentator, so let me start with a couple of his comments.

John references Paul Goldman’s column where he states that “[t]here has been no concerted effort to educate the public, to inform the public, and demonstrate to the public why more new revenue is necessary.”

Geez, I heard a lot of reasons at the public hearings. The ill told of their hardships, teachers and students talked of their challenges, and one need only drive a car to know of the transportation problems. But apparently that’s not enough.

Now, of course, I could volley back: Prove tax cuts help the economy or that taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth. Exactly what kind of proof does John and Goldman want?

In another post, John writes, “…for the most part, those who receive government services should be expected to pay for them.”

That may be an irreconcilable difference in philosophy between us.

He also writes:

To be “fair,” raising the statewide tax burden shouldn’t be seen as a cure-all for gaps in local revenue streams.

If tax reform truly is necessary, shouldn’t a major component of such reform be to insure that there is some overall balance between the amount of tax revenue raised in a particular jurisdiction and what is returned to that jurisdiction?

Spoken like a true Northern Virginia. I’ve made that argument, too. And I see the point. The question is where do you draw the line. If all the money raised locally were to be returned locally, Fairfax would have gold plated schools. (No, only our government center is “gold plated”; our supervisors have their priorities). And Amherst wouldn’t have much more than Ben Cline and Vance Wilkins, and if that isn’t poverty, I don’t know what is.

I figure it this way: If given the chance to trade places with folks in Amherst, or Danville, or Bristol – not that there are not the nicest people and I’m sure very nice places to live – and I would stay put, then I don’t mind sharing. Isn’t that one of the rules they teach you in kindergarten?

Fact is, for all we talk about property tax relief, such taxes in Fairfax aren’t that bad, even with rising assessments. Consider the alternative.

Denise says it better than me, though. She’s one of the few who agree with me and posts so. I guess most liberals have a life.

Denise and John have an interesting discussion – flat tax, taxing wealth and income, etc. I agree with my Dad. (Yes, you can blame him for my liberal views, but go easy on him; he’s not in a position to defend himself.) He used to say “Nobody should make more than $50,000 a year.” That was 40+ years ago, so we can now raise it to, say $55,000. I guess it would be fair to tax consumption heavily. Sure, the guy who buys six mansions and five yachts is giving carpenters work, but even with all his consumption, everyday workers, carpenters included, are falling farther behind.

I’ll leave it to John and Denise to sort out the details.

John also doesn’t like that I don’t like the way The Washington Post quotes James Parmelee in virtually every story about taxes. Note, John, in the last story that quotes the ubiquitous Parmelee he was the only John Q. Citizen quoted, as if there are no Joe Six-Packs (or at least Charles Chardonnays) that have a different point of view.

John also likes Dave Albo’s preference for property taxes instead of state taxes because Fairfax doesn’t get back all it puts in the state coffers. At least that what Albo says. I think he likes property taxes because he doesn’t have to take the heat.

For those who think the Senate’s – and perhaps the entire Assembly’s – decision to cap the car tax is a gold mine of ’05 election fodder for Republicans, I say, “Bring it on.” I’d love nothing more than to see GOPers run on another No Car Tax platform.