Editorial: Push-back against passing the buck

Most contractors are familiar with this scenario.

A framer arrives at a job only to find that a careless plumber had cut through yesterday’s work to install a last-minute pipe.

After a confrontation, the plumber insists he was only doing his job. The framer walks off the job in a huff and the homebuilder misses their deadline.

This is how our levels of government often interact.

Legislation at one level affects the next and is often passed or killed without regard to its impact.

Unfortunately, local governments – counties, cities and towns – are often at the end of this chain, below their state and federal counterparts.

This is especially true when it comes to funding; however local governments in Virginia are at least asking for a heads up from the legislature this year on any bills that might affect their bottom line.

Localities are asking the legislature to impose a “first day introduction requirement,” which would require bills with fiscal impacts to localities to be introduced on the first day of the session at the latest.

The Town of Ashland adopted a resolution supporting the requirement last week and the issue was on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda Wednesday for inclusion in its legislative agenda.

This seems like common sense and it’s unfortunate that any locality has to take formal action to ask the legislature for this “courtesy.”

Besides, state code already mandates the commission on local government to print a statement of fiscal impact for legislature requiring any additional expenditure or reduction in revenue by a locality.

They apparently don’t do it very often.

All too often, we’ve seen the state pass the buck, which inevitably lands at local taxpayers’ doorsteps. Hopefully, localities’ concerns are loud enough to take traction in the General Assembly.

Otherwise, the debris from Richmond sausage-making will continue to fly in our faces.

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm