The extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) has just submitted their annual input on the City Budget. The draft FY 2012 Budget is normally finalized in February. My favorite whipping boys have three points on mass transit, and one of them is actually good.
The first two are bad ideas:
1. Suspend all light rail spending until a light rail referendum question has passed.
Blatantly illegal, per Bob Tata's bill that jump-started the process.
2. Freeze payments to Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) at FY 2011 levels.
Even the VBTA acknowledges that would mean bus service cuts. Absurd when Virginia Beach only has Portsmouth-level service now.
However, I had to smile at the third one: allow Virginia Beach businesses to claim a dollar for dollar credit on their BPOL taxes for commuter checks granted to employees who wish to use mass transit to commute to jobs in Virginia Beach. That should boost bus ridership. (Besides, those who know me well know I think the BPOL is the most ridiculous tax in Virginia.)
My only question would be whether the City of Virginia Beach could do it legally under the Dillon Rule. If not, it belongs in next year's Community Legislative Package.