Monday, February 20, 2017
Governor Terry McAuliffe
House Bill 1582 reflects an incomplete understanding of weapons qualification practices within our military and is an unwarranted expansion in the number of people allowed to carry handguns in the Commonwealth. It would do nothing to protect the safety of our citizens.
It would allow any person 18 years of age or older and on active military duty or honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces or the Virginia National Guard who has completed basic training to apply for a concealed handgun permit.
Contrary to the assumption of House Bill 1582, weapons familiarization training as a component of an individual’s military basic training does not qualify that
Saturday morning while some Roanoke citizens were giving their grass a final cut other citizens struggled making city budget cuts. Though it was only an exercise they took it seriously.
At the invitation of Bob Clement, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, twenty citizens got a lesson in how to develop a Roanoke City budget. Sherman Stovall, Director of Management and Budget, Amelia Merchant, Budget Administrator, and Brian Townsend, Assistant Manager of Community Development demonstrated the yearly challenges faced by the budget committee. Citizens learned what funds comprise the budget structure. They listened as Stovall explained the procedures each department must follow to justify their yearly budgets. When asked what happens to money left over Stovall said it goes into a “rainy day“ fund. Rating agencies like to see a healthy rainy day fund especially in these economically challenging times. Stovall pointed out that the rating agencies have advised Roanoke City that the Budget Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) needs to be “more stable.“ Simply put the city needs to keep it‘s hands out of the cookie jar.
The students were then presented with a budget exercise that had expenditures exceeding revenue growth by $4 million. For the exercise, the class was broken into “Budget Committee” groups. Citizens were presented with a list of options and told to balance the budget. The list of options included areas for reduction, ways to increase revenue, expenditure increase requests, and supplemental requests they could axe. With calculators provided the groups went to work.
One group promised “no new taxes” deciding instead to cut city employee pay raises from 3% to 2% and instituting across the board departmental reductions of 2%. Another group took the politically risky course of increasing the real estate tax by a penny. That led to moans by the other groups. All the supplemental requests were targeted for cuts except Fire/EMS.
In the end the citizens finally decided to pass the buck to their legislative representatives and lobby for a larger slice of the Virginia State revenue pie.
Posted By Valerie Garner