3 Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot Nov. 2

Marinm was kind enough to send me this notice from Senator Mark Obenshain (has to be from Staunton).  We all need to give these items some thought.  I never understand amendments when I go in to the polls and get blindsided by them:

From Senator Obenshain:

Many voters will be surprised to see three Virginia Constitutional Amendments on the ballot when they vote in three weeks (or earlier if voting by absentee ballot). I write this to provide a quick overview of the three constitutional ballot questions you will see when you vote.

All three amendments address taxation and revenue issues, and all three have passed the General Assembly two consecutive years (with nearly unanimous votes), as is required by the Constitution of Virginia, and they now go before the voters for final approval.

The first ballot question reads as follows: “Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation that will permit localities to establish their own income or financial worth limitations for purposes of granting property tax relief for homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently disabled?”

Currently, localities are only authorized to make exemptions for those who bear an “extraordinary tax burden,” or with the express approval of the General Assembly, which occasionally passes legislation authorizing specific localities to afford local property tax relief to senior citizens or the disabled. This amendment, if approved, would allow local governments to make the decision on their own, without going to the General Assembly for approval.

The second ballot question asks: “Shall the Constitution be amended to require the General Assembly to provide real property tax exemption for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability?”

If approved, this amendment would require a statewide exemption from local property taxes for the primary residence of any 100% disabled veteran, provided that the veteran’s disability is service-related. A surviving spouse could continue to claim the exemption so long as the same home remains his or her primary residence, and s/he does not remarry.

Finally, the third ballot question says: “Shall Section 8 of Article X of the constitution of Virginia be amended to increase the permissible size of the Revenue Stabilization Fund (also known as the “rainy day fund” from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth’s average tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?”

In other words, should we expand the allowable size of Virginia’s “rainy day fund,” to which state government contributes in good years to provide resources for lean years? Currently, the maximum size of the Fund – which is almost empty at present – is 10% of the Commonwealth’s average annual tax revenues from income and sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years; this amendment would up the maximum allowable amount to 15%.

MSNBC Left Behind

Jon Stewart gives us his comparison between the three cable networks. It doesn’t end up very pretty. Actually his entire show was hilarious. Check it out at www.thedailyshow.com. He takes no prisoners. My favorite was his spoof on Mika and Joe Scarborough. Joe (Joey S) sure enjoyed saying ‘whore’ and Mika showed her usual prissy, distainful self. I can’t stand Mika so I laughed. Meanwhile:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
MSNBC Left Behind
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

The Roads with NO Name to No Where: Welcome to Prince William County

There is all sorts of local news, none of it quite worthy of its own thread.

PF Changs is coming to Woodbridge. It will be located in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center. This is planned for the spring. Good job at attracting new business to PWC. Those of us in Manassas will most likely continue going to PF Changs at Fairfax Corner. It is a lot closer than going to Woodbridge. Actually all sorts of new stores are coming to Woodbridge.

We can’t get over there though. People on this side of the county can’t figure out the names of all those fancy new roads. For instance, when are you really on the Parkway? If you are out at the corner of Sudley Manor Drive and whatever that big road is right past the overpass, what do we call that road? Is it the Parkway or does it have another name? If you stay on that road, You might end up at Independent Hill. Hell, that isn’t the Parkway. The Parkway goes to Potomac Mills.

That tangled web of connected roads is a freaking mess. No one knows where they are. A friend of mine got slammed by an unlicensed driver and couldn’t tell the 911 operator where she was. She said the Parkway. Actually, she was on Dumfries Road. Whatever happened to the Kathleen Seefeldt Highway? Dumfries Road, THE Parkway. Enough!!! Name the sections of highway something we can all agree upon. I don’t care if they name one of the stretches the Corey Stewart Expressway, just name it something that is distinctly different from its other tentacles.

The piece of highway that is out near 66 needs its own name also. The Parkway just doesn’t cut it. Perhaps the Board of Supervisors really doesn’t travel about or attempt to put location into their GPS in PWC. (It won’t know either)

We have four sections of road that need their own names:
1. Route 66 to Dumfires Road. (Parkway West)
2. Dumfries Road in Manassas to Dumfries Road in Dumfries
3. Old Parkway from Davis Ford Crossing to Route 95 in Woodbridge
4. The highway that connects 1 & 3

BOCS, if you are reading, please! Name the roads after yourself. I don’t care. Just name them something so we can all start calling these roads the same thing. If we have a wreck or have a situation where someone must know where we are, give us a name or something that can be used to convey our location.

Virginia spends millions on college dropouts, study finds

Virginia has spent millions on college drop outs.  According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Richmond, Va. —

Virginia taxpayers spent $177.7 million over five years on 35,461 college students who dropped out after their first year, according to a national study on the cost of attrition.

Federal grants to those students totaled an additional $33.7 million, the American Institutes for Research says in a report being released today that looked at freshmen who didn’t return to four-year schools during the 2003 to 2008 academic years.

Nationally, those costs exceed $9 billion, said the report, which is intended to focus attention on institutional accountability at a time when the state and federal governments are seeking to increase the numbers of students who earn degrees.

“If you don’t finish the first lap, you can’t cross the finish line,” said Mark Schneider, the American Institutes for Research vice president and a former U.S. commissioner of education statistics.

Why are we spending this kind of money?  When do we decide WHO CARES?  If we are going to cut back on spending, here would be a great place to start. 

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Michelle Rhee to Resign Today

Michelle Rhee will announce her resignation today.  The resignation will take place at the end of the month.  According to the Washington Post:

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will announce Wednesday that she is resigning at the end of this month, bringing an abrupt end to a tenure that drew national acclaim but that also became a central issue in an election that sent her patron, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, to defeat.

Rhee survived three contentious years that made her a superstar of the education reform movement and one of the longest-serving school leaders in the city in two decades. Student test scores rose, and the teachers union accepted a contract that gave the chancellor sweeping powers to fire the lowest-performing among them.

But Rhee will leave with considerable unfinished business in her quest to improve teaching, close the worst schools and infuse a culture of excellence in a system that has been one of the nation’s least effective at educating students.

She will be replaced until at least the end of the school year by Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson, a close associate.

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