My ballot picks.

These should be pretty obvious but anyway:

Governor: Bob McDonnell

Lieutenant Governor: Bill Bolling

Attorney General: Ken Cuccinelli

99th District: Hamilton “Ham” Sandwich, Esq. (write-in candidate)

97th District: Chris Peace

And for the voters in the Lee Hill District of Spotsylvania County: D.J. McGuire

Lee Hill District (Spotsylvania County): Vote D.J. McGuire for Supervisor.

Time for some carpetbagging commentary:

Everyone in the Lee Hill District, regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, should be voting for D.J. McGuire for Supervisor.

Why? While this race has been characterized as a referendum on VRE in the media, VRE is just a small part of the issues facing citizens in the Lee Hill District.

While everyone else is cutting back in their personal and business budgets (because of the way the economy is going) with pay cuts, less hours, and less jobs, Gary Skinner believes that you should do with less while the government does with more.

There have been nine property tax increases in Spotsylvania in the last thirteen years.

Skinner has supported five tax increases (including increases on property, personal property [car], and business furniture, but excluding VRE) during his two years on the Board and has helped to enact three. In one case, Skinner voted against a personal property (car) tax increase because the rates was too low.

All these increases were passed on 4-3 margins, so it shows how important a single seat is.

Last year, when the revenue were coming up short in the Spotsylvania, what did Skinner propose instead of cutting the county’s budget? A midyear tax increase. Thankfully, the other supervisors realized how bad this would be for the county.

At which point does the government have to do with less? With Skinner in office, it looks like never.

While Republicans and even a lot of Democrats (including former Governor Doug Wilder and Delegate Albert Pollard) all have realized how bad it is to increase taxes during a recession.

It kills economic growth and makes your county last on a list of perspective locations to locate a business. If your county has had nine property tax increases in thirteen years, it’s a pretty good chance that you’re going to get a tax increase at least every two years.

Would you build or start a business in a location like that?

D.J. realizes that if you want to attract businesses to your locale, you need make your county favorable to businesses, and you do that by keeping taxes low.

You also don’t enact draconian regulations regarding how a commercial property is supposed to look, something that Gary Skinner was a proponent of.

And there’s the outright logical flaws by supporters of Skinner and VRE. “Well, the gas price is the same in Fredericksburg (which has VRE already) and Spotsy!” Really, then where the heck is the money coming from?

Money doesn’t grow on trees and gas stations don’t print their own money (they’re not the federal government), so if they’re keeping the gas prices the same, that means they’re losing money (they don’t make money on gas to begin with), cutting personnel, or declining to upgrade equipment or infrastructure.

No matter what, it’s a bad net result for the county.

And why would you want VRE? To help a few thousands people to get a subsidy to ride on a train? And do you realize how bad VRE is and how hard it is to get to your place of work after you get to Springfield or Union Station? If you work in Manassas or Herndon, you’re SOL unless you want to be sitting on a dozen buses to get to work.

D.J. wants to bring jobs to Spotsy by keeping taxes low instead of subsidizing someone’s train ride. For every person that uses VRE, over 2.5 people use vanpooling. D.J. also wants to make it easier for vanpoolers by making it easier to create parking lots and keeping the personal property (car) tax low.

D.J. also wants to bring a fire and rescue station to the district (the largest one in the county), which currently lacks a single station. This is something that D.J. first proposed and to which Skinner immediately jumped on yelling “me too!”

It’s for all these reasons that people like Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, and local Congressman Rob Wittman have all endorsed D.J. McGuire for Supervisor and I’m happy to join with them in endorsing him.

D.J. McGuire’s statement on Fredericksburg GM Powertrain plant’s closure.

For those that are unaware, fellow blogger D.J. McGuire (aka The right-wing liberal) is on his way to victory in his campaign for the Lee Hill Supervisor seat in Spotsylvania County. I also did a post awhile back detailing why he’s the best candidate for the district regardless of whoever decides to run against him.

He had the following statement regarding the recent announcement that the Fredericksburg (technically, Spotsylvania County) GM Powertrain factory would be closing:

D.J. McGuire, Republican nominee for the Lee Hill Supervisor, released this statement in reaction to the announced closing of GM’s Powertrain plant on Tidewater Trail.

Like many other Spotsylvanians, I was disappointed by the news of the closing of General Motors’ Powertrain plant. I see the plant every day on my way home from work, and it has been a symbol of the county’s openness to success in industry and prosperity for its citizens. I am sad to see its apparent demise. Just three years ago, GM was investing more capital into the Powertrain factory, so this action also comes as a surprise. Given GM’s current status, I hope and expect that both the company and the Obama Administration will be very open about the reasoning behind this decision.

Of course, GM is in need of serious adjustment, and no one can be certain what action, if any, the county could have taken that would have led to a different outcome. However, this is a good time for Spotsylvania to reflect on its recent actions, which certainly didn’t improve the outlook for business in general or the Tidewater Trail plant in particular.

Since GM’s last infusion of capital into the Powertrain plant, property taxes were raised 11% (on average); the personal property tax rate was raised more than 25%; and the business furniture/fixture tax rate was raised 19%. While avoidance of these recession-aggravating measures may not have saved Powertrain, at the very least it would have reduced the risk and the cost to GM for keeping it open – and would certainly do the same for future users of that space. Moreover, if (however unlikely the possibility) the plant was closed for more political reasons, the aforementioned tax increases could very well provide Washington with some of the justification it would use to claim otherwise. It certainly won’t help the future users of that plant, or any other businesses struggling to get through this recession here in Spotsylvania.

In any event, it is time for Spotsylvania to recognize its place in the national and global community, and to acknowledge that it cannot over-tax, over-spend, and over-regulate in a vacuum. That is why, should I be elected Lee Hill Supervisor this November, I will:

  • Refuse to support any real estate tax rate above equalization
  • Keep a close eye on county spending to avoid future tax increases and where possible allow for reductions in tax rates, be it for real estate, BPOL, furniture/fixtures, machinery/tools, heavy equipment, personal property, etc.
  • Work with my fellow Supervisors and the Planning Commission to scale back (and, if possible, repeal) the recently imposed commercial design standards (a.k.a. the “HCOD design standards”) as soon as practicable

The GM Powertrain plant may stay open until late next year. I cannot say whether or not the above plans will save it – and truth be told, it would not be sensible to bend county policy simply to aid one employer. However, we can (and I believe we must) use this as a wake-up call to make Spotsylvania a friendlier county for established and rising businesses – including the business that is and/or will be at 11032 Tidewater Trail.

For more information, contact D.J. at

And yet there’s still only one choice for Lee Hill District Supervisor in Spotsylvania County…

Welcome to my first foray into local Spotsylvania County politics; why do I have a feeling that this is going to end bad?

As my readers (all three two of you) may know, fellow blogger D.J. McGuire has announced his run for the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors for the Lee Hill District. I hadn’t gotten a chance to write up a post about his announcement, but I did add him (with a link to his website) to the “2009 candidates I support” box on the right.

D.J., who’s a Republican, is running against incumbent supervisor Gary Skinner (Independent), who was elected in 2007. (For those that are curious, Spotsylvania has adopted staggered election terms for supervisors which is why Skinner’s term was only for two years. This election will be for a four-year term starting in the beginning of 2010 and finishing at the end of 2013.) Vince Onorato, who previously served on the board from 2004 through 2007, running as an Independent in 2003, and as a Republican in 2007 where he lost to Skinner, is trying to get back on the Board by running as an Independent this year according to The Free Lance–Star’s Dan Telvock. ((Telvock, Dan. “”Vince Onorato is back…sort of”.” [Weblog Spotsy govt.-the odds & ends] 3 Mar 2009. The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co.. 6 Mar 2009 <>.))

In a county that has suffered (yes, that’s the right word) through nine tax increases in the past thirteen years, D.J. is pledging when he’s elected to not vote for an increase in taxes.

What is Gary Skinner’s philosophy on tax increases?

After Spotsylvania County finished doing reassessments last year, the proposed equalization rate — the rate at which citizens, on average, would see no increase on their taxes — was $0.56 per $100 of assessed value. In the proposed budget by the County Administrator, the proposed tax rate was $0.62/$100. When it came time to advertise a tax rate, Gary Skinner proposed to advertise a $0.65/$100 tax rate, a rate two cents even higher than the County Administrator’s proposed rate. Five of the other supervisors barked at this idea, and instead the county advertised a $0.62 rate. ((Telvock, Dan. “Spotsy faces budget pain,” The Free Lance–Star 30 Mar 2008. The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co.. 6 Mar 2009 <>.))

When it came time to vote on the tax rate, one supervisor made a motion to set the tax rate at the equalization rate of $0.56, Gary Skinner voted against this motion repeatedly. Skinner then made a motion to set the tax rate at $0.62 — the maximum rate that the county had advertised — and this motion passed 4 to 3. ((“Board of Supervisors Meeting, April 10, 2008, Minutes.” Spotsylvania County Home Page. Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors. 6 Mar 2009 <>.))

After Gary Skinner voted for over a 10% tax increase for Spotsylvania County citizens in a single year, and the county was still running a deficit due to the economy and the county’s spending, Skinner was the lone supervisor to vote against proposed spending reductions in September. Skinner, based on the report in The Free Lance–Star, openly proposed raising taxes in the middle of the year to make up for the deficit that had developed. ((Telvock. Dan. “Spotsy cutting budget again,” The Free Lance–Star 24 Sep 2008. The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. 6 Mar 2009 <>.))

With Gary Skinner’s tax-and-spend policies documented, let’s turn to Independent-turned-Republican-turned-Independent (I think that’s the right order) Vince Onorato:

Back when Vince Onorato was on the Board in 2004, Onorato seconded and voted for a motion to set the tax rate at $0.87/$100, an one cent increase in taxes compared to the proposed $0.86 equalization rate. Luckily, this motion was defeated by the Board 5 to 2. ((“Board of Supervisors Meeting, April 27, 2004, Minutes.” Spotsylvania County Home Page. Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors. 6 Mar 2009 <>.))

In 2005, Onorato voted to raises taxes again, this time from $0.86/$100 to $0.89/$100 . ((“Board of Supervisors Meeting, April 12, 2005 Minutes.” Spotsylvania County Home Page. Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors. 6 Mar 2009 <>.)) That was a 3.5% increase in taxes for county residents.

So, in two years, Onorato voted to raise county residents taxes by 4.7%. Unfortunately, only in one of those cases was a tax increase averted.

If Spotsylvania County residents don’t want to see their taxes go up once again, vote for D.J. McGuire in November.