Friday, January 1, 2010

Virginia's Tomorrow

With the Right Vision it Could Be Bright Indeed!

Floating Biosphere
Innovative structures might house offshore energy workers. The towers turn to catch the advantage of sun and wind...

Virginians resoundingly voted for a new tomorrow [1.] this past November.The election of Bob McDonnell alone would signify that. The sweep byMcDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli is more like a mandate. There is clearly support for a Reagan-like revolution in the direction of stateleadership. Here is a look at what the future might hold for the Commonwealth.

1. A Push for Energy Independence

It’s no secret that Governor McDonnell wants to see Virginia’s natural resources, including offshore drilling rights, fully exploited. In a letter to Ken Salazar [2.] he makes that very clear. Offshore drilling can be done safely and would provide new jobs in the energy sector for the state. Drilling revenues would energize the state’s economy and, if managed well, lead to sustained economic health.

Cheaper, locally produced energy must be a priority. North Anna’s remaining reactor needs to be built. A healthy mixture of ‘new’ and old technologies must be put into play to ensure reasonably priced and readily available power.

2. Leaner Government Expenditures

The states in the Union with the worst economic situations such as California and New York are the ones with the most unsustainable spending. The only alternative to cutting spending is a round of job-killing tax hikes which create reduced revenues in the long run as industry is hobbled by rising costs.

With surveys showing that the average government worker salaries are higher than those in the private sector it is time for some wage freezes in government. Some functions would be more affordable if outsourced to private contractors. A hard eye needs to be applied to requests for ‘new’ computer systems to ‘increase efficiency.’ Often the new system creates learning curve inefficiency and incompatibility issues. It might make more sense to procure smaller ‘off the shelf’ solutions for known issues. By doing so you reduce the learning curve loss to one department and target the solution. The ensuing ‘compatibility issues’ are of a much more manageable size.

3. Private Enterprise Taking Over

In the socialist country of France, one sees fine highways and bridges that have been built and are operated through private companies that are contracted to build and maintain them. Virginia already has the Dulles Toll Road operating under a similar contract. Interstate 66 from the beltway into Washington presents a similar opportunity.

A private contractor should be charged to operate the facility with congestion tolls and elimination of the HOV only status. Additional lane capacity should be considered and paid for by bonds to be retired through the toll.

Privatization of ‘public’ transportation should be considered as well.

4. Freedom and Market Principles in Education

Educational choice should become a real force in Virginia’s preparation for her future. Tax credits for those pursuing alternatives to public education would put real market competition into play. More importantly, this move would put real opportunity inthe hands of Virginia students.

5. Medical Reimbursement Reform on a State Level

The state can promote policies such as tort reform and increased market competition in the insurance industry. Medical savings accounts should be not only encouraged but rewarded through tax treatment.

Floating Biosphere
...and provide new alternatives to building on agricultural land.

Never Forget
Virginia's greatest resource is a creative and diverse population. Xaver Wilhelmy, a transplanted Austrian, developed these innovative glass organ pipes...

Sound Sculpture
...and even envisioned them integrated into church windows!

Green Building
This piece of innovative architecture captures water that would ordinarily be lost to the street and storm drain.

Projects like the Village at Afton [3.] would create jobs and encourage tourism in our area.

1. Based on 'New York's Tomorrow' special edition of City Journal. Many of the principles outlined therin would be applicable to Virginia's future.

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