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Thursday, March 10, 2005
On this day:

Fairfax's "Hit & Run" Connolly Laments: Taxpayers Bear Burden of Politician's Good Intentions

Well, not quite.

The WP reports that "Hit & Run" Connolly is complaining:

Fairfax spent $543 million last fiscal year complying with federal mandates to provide cleaner water and air, collect and dispose of solid and hazardous waste, incarcerate illegal immigrants, provide health care for the uninsured, implement new voting rules and pay for No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law. But the government reimbursed the county for just $148 million, leaving taxpayers to shoulder the rest.

It is not that Connolly disapproves of these programs. Connolly says, "You're asking local taxpayers to bear the burden of your good intentions."

I doubt that Connolly actually embraces federalism and really believes that certain policy decisions should be made by the states and their counties instead of the federal government. He is not arguing against the federal mandates in toto. Rather, he wants Congress to write him a bigger check. It seems as though he simply wants more money under his control.

Is the problem really that the "wrong" taxpayers are paying for these programs? Aren't substantially all Fairfax taxpayers also federal taxpayers? If Congress decides to make the farmers in Kansas pay for Fairfax's water, safety, education, etc., will Connolly cut Fairfax taxes accordingly (not just nominal decreases in the rate, but actual decreases in taxes paid)?

Notwithstanding speculation about Connolly's motivations for his subsidized housing policy and his Tysons policy, assuming arguendo that Connolly has good intentions, his question can be generalized to be made applicable to him: Should Fairfax taxpayers bear the burden of Connolly's "good intentions"?