Question for Creigh Deeds

September 25, 2009

This past week, Virginia candidate for Governor, Creigh Deeds (D), outlined his transportation plan in a Washington Post op-ed. Like all op-eds written by politicians, it contained a list of all the wonderful things he would do if elected. Here’s what he said:

In the plan laid out on my Web site, I share my views that we need to:

— Bring high-speed rail to Virginia.

— Reduce congestion (and commute times) in Northern Virginia.

— Expand freight and passenger rail.

— Maximize economic opportunities linked to the Port of Virginia.

— Utilize bus rapid transit.

— Expand the capacity of critical Hampton Roads water crossings and emergency evacuation routes.

Reduce rush-hour traffic through telecommuting and flex-time tax credits.

— Promote smarter land-use planning.

— And expand road and rail projects in Southwest and Southside Virginia.

Note his proposal to “reduce rush-hour traffic through telecommuting and flex-time tax credits.”

Who is the biggest employer in Northern Virginia (where traffic is worst in the state)? The federal government. How can you give a tax credit to the federal government, which, by law, pays no taxes? Furthermore, a large fraction of Northern Virginia residents also work for non-profits (like me) who once again pay no tax.

This is typical of politicians (both left and right): use tax policy to try to achieve some supposed goal because it sounds good, even though tax policy is a terrible and inefficient way to try to achieve the end.

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