Priorities, priorities, priorities!

An editorial in The Free Lance-Star: Doggone it:

A bill by Del. Bobby Orrock, D-Caroline, defines commercial breeders, requires them to register with their localities, and subjects them to all kinds of regulations and inspections. The bill comes perilously close to inflicting unfounded government control on innocent parties–such as hobby breeders and hunt-club operators, for example. It also establishes expensive unfunded mandates just when localities are revenue-pressed.

Well, I’m going to assume that’s a typo (or a Freudian slip) when they refer to Orrock as a Democrat.

But besides that: Great work. Never thought I would be saying that to The FL-S. ;)

Have a read of the fiscal impact statement for this bill (HB538) from the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget:

According to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the bill will result in an increased need for technical support to local animal control officers, private practice veterinarians, and Commonwealth’s attorneys in recognizing, investigating, collecting evidence, prosecuting, and giving expert testimony on commercial animal breeders. In addition, the legislation may result in a greater number of animal cruelty and animal welfare investigations in general.

Talk about unfunded mandates…

The department estimates that the legislation will require one full-time position to carry out the responsibilities associated with it. The cost of the position includes salary and fringes of $90,350, and other costs, such as office space, computer, cell phone, and travel of $16,412 in the first year and $12,392 in subsequent years.

That would be $106,762 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year and $102,742 in each subsequent fiscal year.

The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for commercial breeders to violate the provisions. The penalties of a Class 1 misdemeanor include confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500. Therefore, this proposal could result in an increase in the number of persons in jail. There is not enough information available to reliably estimate how many additional inmates in jail could result from this proposal. Any increase in jail population will increase costs to the state. The Commonwealth pays localities $8 a day for each misdemeanant or otherwise local responsible prisoner held in a jail. It also funds much of the jails’ operating costs, e.g. correctional officers. The state’s share of these costs, on a per prisoner, per day basis varies from locality to locality. However, according to the Compensation Board’s most recent jail cost report (November 2007), the estimated total state support for local jails averaged $28.42 per inmate per day in FY 2006.

Bobby Orrock wants the state to spend at least $102,742 a year hunting down dog breeders (no pun intended) when his own county of residence can’t even get funding from the state to convert their part-time Commonwealth’s Attorney’s position to full-time! Does anyone else see a problem with this?

The last animal cruelty case (against Michael Wilkerson) that the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Caroline County prosecuted took two hours — and the case has since been appealed to Circuit Court and will have to be retried.

It’s nice to see that the government (any) has its spending priorities in order.

4 thoughts on “Priorities, priorities, priorities!”

  1. If it makes you feel better, Tim, we Spotsylvanians who live in his district don’t like him much either (we still remember the 2004 and 2007 tax hikes).

  2. You missed the second, cities and counties unfunded mandate HB538 fiscal impact estimate, which when extrapolated statewide results in of a conservative $1.5 – 3.0 million local tax burden. HB538’s Senate vote was postponed a week today, while legislators there search for answers.
    HB538 is
    conflicts with federal law
    harmful to ordinary, responsible Virginia dog owners
    doesn’t improve animal welfare and
    terribly expensive to implement

    Bob Kane, President
    Virginia Hunting Dog Owners’ Association
    Chairman Emeritus, Sportsmen and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

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