This tends to cause problems when the three jurisdictions have to work together; for example, during the serial sniper investigation last year there were a number of police forces working on the case who weren't on the same page. And all three governments are responsible for running the Metro system; obviously that's working out real well. NOT.
(Whatever happened to "not"? Hmm, '90s nostalgia is gonna suck, isn't it?)
Generally, the rivarly has seemed friendly, resulting in little more than good-natured ribbing and the occasional interstate golf tournament.
Until today... when it all blew up like a motherfucker. The reason: the commuter tax lawsuit being considered by the District. Strap yourselves in...
"This is a stupid, idiotic plan that should not be adopted in any way," declared Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (R), whose county has about 6,000 daily commuters to the District, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.Ahh, Loudon County, always the calm voice of suburban reason.
"This would become a burden on our residents no matter how you end up looking at it," said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R), a lawyer and one of about 17,000 county residents who commute to the District.Except in the way that the commuters would be paying the same amount of taxes. Generally, commuter taxes are deducted from residents' home state taxes as a credit. Virginia would need to raise taxes to make up for that lost revenue, but that burden would presumably be spread out among all residents of the Commonwealth, and wouldn't sting any one group too badly.
And now, the really good part:
D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) fired back, saying the suburbs are against a commuter tax because they unfairly benefit from the current arrangement. "The only argument [the suburbs] have is: 'We're greedy. We do not want to pay our fair share,' " Evans said.AWWWWWW NO YOU DI'NT!!!!!
"I'm appalled at the people in Virginia. They're living up to their reputation of being narrow-minded. When you think of people in Virginia, you think of them as backward, and they confirm it on something like this."
I mean, wow. This is the kind of comment that totally makes my day, but totally should never have been spoken by a politician. Don't get me wrong, he's exactly right on all counts: Virginia is indeed made up almost solely of greedy, backward, narrow-minded rich people. That could pretty much be our state motto. But, see, I'm allowed to say that on my foul-mouthed blog; a politician isn't. Granted, Evans is trash-talking a jurisdiction outside his own and probably won't have to face too many repercussions as a result. But when you're trying to get another state to keep from going against your plan to tax them, maybe calling them greedy and backward isn't the best way to go about doing it.
All right, so now it's ALL-OUT TAX WARFARE! Time to bring down... the steel cage!
Montgomery officials said they have no immediate plans to fight a commuter tax in court. But if District leaders "go much further, we could easily be forced to consider a tax on reverse commuters," said County Council President Michael L. Subin (D-At Large). "There are a significant number of people driving from Washington to work in Montgomery County every day."Oh, man. Is it my birthday or something? No? This is still awesome.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Katherine K. Hanley (D) said her board has not taken an official stand on the matter recently but has generally opposed the idea of a commuter tax.Yes, REGIONAL WAR!!!! Can we start now? Where can I get tickets? There can be only one!
"There are a lot of other parts of the region that have people come to our jurisdiction as well," she said. A District lawsuit "could spark a regional war."
One more quote I love:
Hanley took exception to D.C. leaders' characterizations of Fairfax as flush with revenue. "We pay more in taxes [to state coffers in Richmond] than we get back," she said. "We have revenue-stream problems of our own."See, this is why Northern Virginia opposition to this plan doesn't make much sense. Here's how taxes work in Northern Virginia:
1) The taxes we pay go to Richmond.
2) The money is spent elsewhere in the state.
3) The end.
As far as Richmond is concerned, Virginia's Washington suburbs might as well be in New Hampshire. We're a bunch of spoiled city slickers who will just have to make do with a two-lane I-66, because dag gummit, if Roanoke can get by with two lanes, so can we.
Even though, unlike D.C., we're taxed with representation, the eight-or-so representatives we send to Richmond can't hope to outvote the 83-or-so representatives from the rest of the state, who are too busy passing resolutions condemning the cancellation of Hee-Haw.
My point is, why not have our Virginia commuters give some tax dollars to D.C. instead? At least the money would be staying in the region, as opposed to now, when it basically goes to subsidize Farmer Cletus's fantastic new pig milking machine in Bent Creek.
Anyway, you know I'll be keeping an eye on this story, now that everyone is all up in each other's business. May the hilarity never end.