Waynesboro: My bad timing

Column by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

I wrote earlier – and facetiously – about Jim Gilmore’s good timing regarding his visit to Waynesboro to talk with the editorial staff at The News Virginian on Monday hours before Waynesboro City Council voted 3-0 to pass the Gilmore no car tax buck on to city taxpayers.

And now I feel compelled to write about my own bad timing.

Because it occurs to me that had I been elected to city council in May, that would have been me up there on the dais having to make a call one way or the other on the $180,000 shortfall that Gilmore’s cockamamie car-tax plan forced upon us this year.

And here’s what I would have done – I would have voted with Frank Lucente and Tim Williams to pass the cost of that shortfall onto the taxpayers. Because otherwise, as I’m sure they’ve reasoned this out, we’d have to cut more muscle from a budget that has long since shed whatever body fat it once had.

But I can’t get this thought out of my head – that the Stephen Winslows and Reo Hatfields and the Dave Wolfes of the world would have pilloried me for it. We told you he wasn’t a fiscal conservative. He sold you a bill of goods. He raised taxes during an economic slowdown. Everybody knows that you don’t do that. Except tax-and-spend liberals like Chris Graham.

OK, so where are those people now who spent the big bucks on campaign ads that didn’t all make it into the public record to tell you that their guys were the guys who would look out for the little guys now that their guys are the ones sticking it to the little guys?

The sound you hear right now is that of crickets chirping. Far, far off in the distance.

Yep, it’s that quiet, folks. Guess we’re supposed to believe that because Lucente and Williams and born follower Bruce Allen were the 3 in the 3-0 then this tax increase is okie-dokie.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to tell you that they’re doing anything out of sorts. The alternative would be to find another $180,000 in the budget that wasn’t there in April and May and won’t be there in September and October and into next year with the way Wall Street is looking and the way the rest of the economy is going.

Just remember what the May election was about, if you can think that far back for a minute or two. I laid out a vision for Moving Waynesboro Forward that focused on attracting high-tech industry to Waynesboro to provide a solid, sustaining tax base along with a limited city commitment to the revitalization of our downtown business district that would balance our economy and give us the ability to improve our schools and quality of life without having to tax ourselves out of existence. My opponents, who mocked everything I said to the point of labeling me an elitist when it is their friends whose net worth begins with the letter m-, not mine, promised nothing more than no new taxes.

Well, they just raised your taxes.

They sold you a bill o’ goods, Waynesboro.


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