'Insufficient evidence': State mum as Biscuit Run appraisers go unpunished

Four months after leaked documents showed that a Charlottesville-based group of investors convinced top-level Virginia officials to bail out their flopped housing development with millions in state money, anger still runs high. The government, however, has done nothing to punish the potential wrongdoing that led to what may eventually become Biscuit Run State Park.

"Biscuit Run is an absolute abomination and fraud," says outraged Albemarle taxpayer Clara Belle Wheeler.

While some politicians have expressed similar outrage, the drive to punish the players or reform the system appears to have dissipated, often in a bipartisan spirit.

For instance, the conservation tax credit law that enabled most of the Biscuit Run bailout went virtually unchanged this year in the General Assembly– even though the creator of the program, Democratic State Senator Creigh Deeds had vowed to make changes.

His supposed reform bill, SB 1232, merely codifies a right the state already seemed to possess: to review potentially inflated property assessments.

"It's not as far-reaching as what a lot of people would have liked," concedes Deeds, "but it's what we could get done."

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell– queried recently at a Charlottesville-area event– expressed ignorance both of the financial calisthenics underlying Biscuit Run and of the fact that it was one of his top donors who most benefited from them. The deal was ushered through state government by McDonnell's Democratic predecessor, Tim Kaine.

Left unchanged in this bipartisan approval zone is the cloak of secrecy that forces Virginia taxpayers to line the pockets of the landed gentry with over $100 million each year in the name of land conservation. Although the goal is noble, the secrecy gives taxpayers no way to know whether they're getting good value or whether– as has been alleged at Biscuit Run– they're simply bailing out well-connected individuals from overzealous speculation.

"There has to be a mechanism for full disclosure," says Wheeler, noting how real estate transactions have always been open to public inspection. However, it's actually a crime for state officials to reveal the amount of the tax credits, thanks to a 2008 bill patroned by a college classmate of the lead Biscuit Run speculator.

How big was the bailout? It started with $9.8 million in state cash to buy the land. Few might argue with that amount, as it represents a 20 percent discount on the state's pre-purchase appraisal. What was unseen– at least until a plain white envelope came across the transom of a newspaper office around Christmastime– were the deal's inner workings.

When then governor Tim Kaine stepped in with a taxpayer-funded package a year earlier, he told taxpayers they were getting a bargain. What he omitted were the tax credits, but they ended up costing taxpayers more than twice the purchase price. Why are tax credits important?

Imagine that you could convince an appraiser that property purchased at the height of the real estate bubble doubled in value despite the subsequent economic collapse. And imagine that you could carry that appraisal to the state tax department where they would convert the document into millions of dollars for you and your friends.

Charlottesville businessman Hunter Craig doesn't have to imagine; he found a pair of appraisers who endorsed such fabulous numbers. According to the leaked documents, lead appraiser Patricia O'Grady-Filer of Orange along with Midlothian-based James H. Boykin claimed that the land bought in 2005 for $46 million skyrocketed to $88 million in 2009. (This was detailed in news articles including the Hook's January 6 cover story, "Bad Men? New numbers show spiraling costs of Biscuit Run.")

Taxpayer Wheeler contends that the appraisers should lose their licenses. But the Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation doesn't agree.

"The information in the articles is not sufficient to suggest a violation," according to Mary Broz-Vaughan, spokesperson for the Department, which shows no complaint against Boykin and only a closed and sealed file marked "no disciplinary action" on O'Grady-Filer.

"The case was closed," Broz writes in an email, "under the category 'insufficient evidence.'"

Insufficient evidence? Late on its loans, saddled with millions in carrying costs, obligated to pay over $20 million in cash to Albemarle County, Biscuit Run was mired in the post-bubble economy with little hope that any houses would soon appear. This doubled in value?

Broz-Vaughan explains that just because the appraisers endorsed a questionable value isn't sufficient evidence to allege fraud.

"Ultimately," says Broz-Vaughan, "something that may not pass the 'smell test' is not enough for the Department to make an accusation."

She says that someone with a copy of the appraisal would have to point out a specific violation of appraisal standards. But with the appraisal kept secret, how could anyone produce such evidence?

"I cannot unlock the conundrum," answers Broz-Vaughan. "Someone needs a copy of the appraisal report."

The Hook possesses just a single page of the report, and phone calls to O'Grady-Filer and Boykin have produced– except for the day when Boykin suggested that disclosing his handiwork constitutes a criminal violation– only hang-ups.

Speculator Craig and former governor Kaine– the latter now seeking nomination for election to the U.S. Senate– have declined repeated opportunities to comment.

As it turns out, the concept of turning appraisals into cash is nothing new. In 2005, Hook reporter Lisa Provence showed how Charlottesville developer Jim Stultz was able to claim a $5 million "charitable donation" when he sold the former Mountain Wood treatment facility to Region Ten Community Services Board. While the purchase price matched the local assessor's valuation of around $5 million, Stultz produced an appraisal claiming the property was worth $10 million.

As for Biscuit Run, the leaked documents show that the state ignored both the $88 million appraisal by O'Grady-Filer and the state's pre-purchase $12 million appraisal and settled on a valuation of $39 million for the tract. Hunter Craig and company appealed.

It was a month-ago building dedication in Earlysville when a reporter asked Governor McDonnell if he planned to challenge the deal. McDonnell expressed ignorance, even as a reporter reminded him of the role played by Craig, who parlayed $63,000 in campaign contributions to McDonnell into a seat on the board of the University of Virginia.

"This is a matter between the respective taxpayers and the Virginia Department of Taxation," says McDonnell's deputy communication director Taylor Thornley. "It is going through the process provided by law and is not something that a Governor would be directly involved in."

The Department of Taxation, with its spokesperson pointing to the law created by Craig's Hampden-Sydney College classmate, has refused to make any disclosures on the matter.

How about then state parks director, Joseph H. Maroon, and then Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant? Documents show that both men "concurred" on the O'Grady-Filer valuation, but both have since left office to accept private consultancies, and neither returned a telephone call for comment.

This leaves the Attorney General as the only official who might still speak up. Earlier this year, after trying to "reassure the public" by noting an official review, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has gone silent.

"There is nothing new to report at this time," Cuccinelli's spokesperson says in an email. "We don't comment on ongoing investigations or other legal actions until they lead to court action."

Cuccinelli is the state official who has been zealously fighting the University of Virginia for documents that might show fraud in climate research. But his spokesperson, Brian Gottstein, says that all public statements on the climate inquest came only after UVA raised the topic. He asserts that silence on Biscuit Run doesn't necessarily mean approval.

"I understand the public's desire for more information as well as for a resolution," continues Gottstein, "but I'm sorry I can't give you further details at this time."

Back in Albemarle, County Supervisors have expressed shock that a 3,100-house neighborhood that was supposed to bolster the tax base and serve as a centrally located prototype for urban development had suddenly become designated as parkland in a county already rife with parks and located adjacent to a national park.

At least one taxpayer wishes all the scrutiny would vanish. In a recent letter, commercial real estate broker Lane Bonner blasts the Hook for "pissing on" what he sees as a community benefit. Taxpayer Wheeler, however, says the ethical questions demand center stage.

"It's the scam of the century," says Wheeler. "Lots of people here lost money. For Hunter Craig and his group to think the taxpayers should bail them out is unconscionable."

This story is a part of the The Biscuit Run cash grab special.
Read more on: biscuit runHunter Craig


I had an opportunity to attend a telephone based town hall meeting put on by Sen. John Watkins (R-Chesterfield). I got as far as the screener who asked what my question was about. i said "The scam named Biscuit Run." As I patiently waited for my turn to ask the question (for over an hour) i was stunned to hear them announce "Well, that's all the questions we have tonight." I then fired off an email detailing my concerns over this boondoggle to Watkins and have yet to receive any reply. Cover up? Nah, couldn't be .......

Thank goodness for The Hook. We trust you to stay on this story.

It surprises me that our legislators would do no more than place a band aid on this egregious practice. I have yet to meet anyone who isn't appalled by the way the tax credits were handled.

Why isn't this one time both parties could agree to speak and act for the majority of taxpayers ? Or have they both been bought and paid for by those who line their pockets to fund their campaigns ?

There's only one group to blame and it's us. We keep on voting these complete criminals back into office time and time again on empty promises due to the divisive language they use that it's the "other guy" who's screwing us. We as voters need to unify and vote against *any* candidate who takes these sorts of bribes, partisan lines be damned. It doesn't cost a lot for mass media coverage these days, there's no reason why we couldn't find a good individual to represent us who won't drain our coffers giving favors to their friends.

What Lane bonner doesn't want "pissed on" is his revenue stream. If he sells commercial real estate then why doesn't he crunch the numbers like he does for his clients and figure out that at a cost of 40 million and a loss of 325k a year in Real Estate taxes, bisquit run is costing the taxpayers of virginia over 6 grand a day assuming we are paying "interest only" on the 40 million.

Would he have advised any of his clients to buy it at that price? Doubtful.

I've pointed this out before but it bears repeating...the Biscuit Run scam reveals the utter hypocrisy of conservatives, who tout the "free" market and condemn "welfare," except of course when that welfare is for them.

Supply-side economics (sometimes called trickle-down economics) is the biggest scam conservatives have perpetrated on the nation. Starting with Reagan in 1981, and continuing with Bush1 and Bush2, conservative Republicans pushed supply-side economic policies that direct government fiscal and monetary actions in favor of corporations and the wealthy. The results are a matter of public record. The rich have gotten richer and the poor are poorer, with child poverty now at 25 percent, the highest in the developed world. The middle class has gotten squeezed badly.

Meanwhile budget deficits mounted., and the total national debt ballooned. After a dozen years of Reagan and Bush1, the national debt more than quadrupled and the U.S. morphed into the biggest debtor nation in the world. Trade deficits swelled, with a net outflow of dollars from the American economy. The decline of the American standard of living was in full swing.

After 1993 and Bill Clinton's tax increase on the wealthy, which not a single Republican in Congress supported, budget deficits began to decline, the budget was balanced multiple times, and surpluses were generated to pay down debt and preserve social welfare programs. Then came Bush2 and more supply side tax cuts (and unfunded wars), and no regulation of Wall Street, and the broken economy. Conservatives put together TARP, to bail out those who'd caused the financial and mortgage crises, and who'd gotten much richer from the tax cuts.
To see where the deficit problems are, just examine the chart linked below:


Conservatives talk about "free" markets, but they don't really believe in them. They lavish tax cuts and "incentives" and freebies on their favored constituents, and call them "market" based, when in essence they are simply huge transfers of wealth from the public treasuries to the richest. That wealth transfer tends not to trickle down very much. It broke the economy and caused millions of job losses. Corporations are sitting on record piles of cash, but they are not "investing" it in jobs. Instead, they and their conservative friends insist they need MORE tax cuts, and they plan to gut Medicare and Medicaid.

In Albemarle County, the biggest and typically wealthiest land-owners are subsidized by county-tax-payers through the land use tax valuation program. Sixty percent of all land parcels in the county is in the subsidy program even though agricultural production and agriculture-related jobs in the county are quite small and declining.

This is the conservative philosophy, epitomized by Hunter Craig. A devout "free-marketer," Craig wants low taxes for himself and his brethren, little or no government regulation, cuts in welfare spending, and he wants government out of the marketplace...except when the "market" worked against him, and then he sought government intervention and taxpayer support. This is the conservative philosophy: government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. And, everybody else pays.

It's about time that more citizens caught on to their scams....and their hypocrisy.


1)This fraud was perpetrated by a Democratic governer and a presumably Democratic beaurucrat who felt he was "saving the land"

2) The rich may be getting richer but there are also way more millionaires then ever before .. they all came from the middle class....

3) The poor may appear to be getting poorer on paper but the FACT is that the poor have better access to food, health care education and shelter than at any other time in our history.

4)Those same poor also have a better standard of living, If you used 1970 standards, that 25% would be reduced by 90%. The problem in america is not lack of calories it is lack of nutrition which is a CHOICE.

5) The companies sitting on cash know they are losing out to inflation and would love to invest it but the risk/reward ratio does not justify it. They are concerned that if we do not get a grip on spending interest rates will go through the roof which means that a)they could get a better return loaning it out and B) If they spend now and have to borrow later it might be at 10%.

6) This recession was caused by THE CONSUMER spending money they didn't have on the assumption that the party would never end. A fool and his money are soon parted.

7) If trickle down does not work how do you explain the used car industry? If the rich are taxed too much then they will not consume high end items which replaces their 2 year old high end items which goes on down the line allowing people to buy a Ralph Lauren shirt at goodwill for three bucks.

8) No matter how you slice it the top 15% are paying 80% of the taxes. Enough is enough. If you want more than create an envrionment where there are MORE rich not less. If the government would stop spending and regulating busineses would invest. Nobody wants to invest in this climate except vultures betting on failure.

9) You ARE correct about Wall Street except he problem is not lack of regulation it is lack of enforcment. the rules were there, the rules are still there but the Government refuses to lock people up untill it is too late.

10) People scream about medical costs but the facts are that the medical care we provide in 2011 is not the same as 1980, it is 10 times better but only costs 5 times as much. We have gone from a Model T to a Rolls Royce and people don't want to pay. We need to either find the money, figure out how to deliver a Rolls royce on a model T budget or splt the difference.
At least the Republicans are TRYING to figure it out.

I am not defending Republicans, I am defending the need to stop government spending and excessive interference in the workplace. My cuts would include the military in a big way.

It would also include streamlingithe safety net so it is less of a hammock for those who know how to abuse it.

Trippin' Billies!!!

What kind of a suck-up continually refers to Clara Belle Wheeler as "taxpayer Wheeler"? How is that any kind of a differentiator--everyone in the United States is a taxpayer?

But for the health of the economy allowing these tax breaks for the wealthy is a problem.

“The fact of the matter is that, as late as 1980, the top 1 percent by income in the United States had about nine percent of total national income. But since then, you’ve had increasing concentration of income and wealth to the point that by 2007 the top 1 percent was taking home 21 percent of total national income. Now, when they’re taking home that much, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy growing. That was hidden by the fact that they were borrowing so much on their homes, they kept on consuming because of their borrowing. But once that housing bubble exploded, it exposed the fact that the middle class in this country has really not participated in the growth of the economy, and over the long term we’re not gonna have a recovery until the middle class has the purchasing power it needs to buy again.”


Bill Marshall,

Ninety percent of the current national debt was incurred under conservative Republican presidents pursuing supply-side economic policies. I linked the chart that shows were the blame for current deficits lies...I'll do so again as it appears you did not examine it:


As James Fallows points out: "The very large, but permanent and worsening, budgetary impact of the "Bush tax cuts" -- which when first proposed back in the pre-9/11 era, were supposed to end in 2010 and were in response to what back then seemed to be the "problem" of a burgeoning surplus in federal accounts! Since "extending" those cuts just sounds like business as usual, I think it is hard for most people to envision the profound and growing effect they have. The chart above helps toward that end -- and doesn't even go into how heavily those cuts are skewed to the "haves" of society."

Over thirty years of tax cuts geared toward corporations and the wealthy have increased greatly the percentage of national wealth that is controlled by them. You pass this off by saying that the rich pay a lot in taxes, but you fail to note that (1) their incomes have increased quite dramatically, (2) they now typically pay a lower percentage in taxes than do ordinary citizens, (3) the average income of Americans has stagnated or declined while that of the wealthy has jumped markedly, (4) the national debt is mostly a result of allegedly conservative "free" market policies that enabled the wealthy while hurting almost everybody else.

You make the claim that the poor are "better off" now than in 1970. And where, exactly, did you glean this tidbit of information? Perhaps you'll share it with readers. Poverty has increased under conservative policies, and child poverty is higher in the United States than in any other developed nation.

You say Republicans are not trying to figure out how to improve medical care. If that were the case they would not be trying to sink Obama's health care reform legislation, which is modest indeed. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, "Until the healthcare law passed last year, requiring medical insurance had a long history as a mainstream GOP idea. It was promoted by conservative policy experts at places like the Heritage Foundation more than 20 years ago. In the 1990s, the concept was championed by Republicans on Capitol Hill."

We pay more for health care in the U.S. than in other developed nations. As the OECD found, "The United States spent $7,538 per person on health in 2008, well over double the $3,000 average of all OECD countries." Yet, we get less for that spending than elsewhere. We have a horribly high infant mortality rate. We now rank near the bottom of developed nations in life expectancy and deaths from illnesses that could have been successfully treated if treated in a timely manner. Conservatives like to say that the health care system in the U.S. is the "best in the world," but empirical studies place it far below that of other similar countries.

Current conservatives are rallying around the "budget plan" of Paul Ryan. The Ryan plan is just rehashed old, failed policies. More supply-side tax cuts for corporations and the rich, paid for with slashing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, cuts to Pell grants for college students, and cuts in food stamps. Instead of social welfare programs that actually help people, Ryan pushes corporate and oligarchic welfare that only helps those who already have the most, with much of what they have paid for by everybody else.

And, while Tim Kaine praised the Biscuit Run deal as a gain in park land for the public, VDOT appraised the land at $12 million for the purchase (which was $9.8 million). But the cash and tax credits that were gained were not enough for Hunter Craig. He got the "phony" appraisal, with a December, 2009 (AFTER the election for governor) letter from the appraiser tagging Biscuit Run's value at $88 million. It is conservatives Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli who are letting the grossly inflated appraisal fly. After all, Craig gave big bucks to McDonnell's campaign, and it IS typical conservative fare to enrich the rich.

Your support for trickle down policies is clear, Bill. But your steadfast refusal to acknowledge their ruinous effects on the nation is not only incredulous, but also disingenuous.

The question that needs to be asked and answered locally is ;
are these tax breaks for the wealthy, including the ones detailed in Mr. McNair's article, forcing the cost of local infrastructure projects ( transportation, water and sewer, schools, libraries, fire and police stations ect. ) and services ( education, fire and police, infrastructure maintenance, and care for the indigent) to be borne disproportionately by the middle class because so much land, owned by those most able to pay, is taxed at a lower rate or is given tax credits ?

The assessors in this instance make the local assessors seem on the up and up. During this whole downturn, assessments have barely gone down in the County and stayed flat in the City. So according to the local assessors we haven't had a downturn or crash.


1) The rich do not pay less than ordinary citizens regardless of the tax rate. Warren Buffet may only pay 18% after the lawyers get through with his loopholes and his secretary may pay 28% BUT he is still paying 20 million a year and she is still paying 28 thousand a year. They work in the same office, he just has a nicer desk. Is that worth 19 plus million?

2( 51% of tax filers payed ZERO taxes in 2009 due to games played and welfare.

3) My statisics for poverty are right here in charlottesville, go to Friendship Court and ask them to compare their standard of living now and back in 1969 when they were using outhouses in Vinegar Hill before it was torn down. I guarantee you that in the 1960s the poor in america didn't have cell phones designer clothes and 200 dollar tennis shoes.

4) We have a higher infant mortality rate because we actually TRY and save the babies instead of aborting them. Additionally many of the babies that died and cost us millions trying to save are born to crack mothers who are not punished and just get pregnant again.

5) The only reason trickle down appears to have failed is because Democrats AND Republicans KEPT SPENDING more than they took in. You are the one who REFUSES to acknowledge that after the Bush Tax cuts FEDERAL REVENUES INCREASED. The crooks in Washington just spent it all and then some.

6) If the Republicans folded up and went home the Democrats would destroy this country in a year. The top 10% wealth combined couldn't keep up with Obamas spending for 6 months.

Hey guys!

You're doing just what the arrogant rich want us to do -- fight among ourselves instead of targeting them for their greed and largesse.

They get away with it because they can. Because we let them. MAN UP!!!

The Poor, the middle class, and the rich have benefited from deficit spending since the 1960s. We have made programs for the poor, fought wars, used infastructure from the 50s, promissed benefits and the middle and upper classes have pushed the costs off by borrowing instead of fully paying for them. The Boomer generation has enjoyed it and now wants their full retirement. Now what a mess we are in, the industrial base of the 50s is gone, huge debts. Likely taxes are going to rise and programs benefits cut, and we can't be the world's policeman any more. The Dems want higher taxes, no cuts. The Republicans want cuts no higher taxes. The Chinese will force the action when they don't want our debt any more.

Poor Bill Marshall has a hard, hard head. He keeps rehashing nonsense. From his latest rant I pull the most egregious statements, and then respond. Marshall's comments are in quotes, followed my explanations.

Marshall: " Warren Buffet may only pay 18% after the lawyers get through with his loopholes and his secretary may pay 28% BUT he is still paying 20 million a year and she is still paying 28 thousand a year."

democracy: Bill, thanks. You helped to make my point (again). Unless you know something exquisitely exotic and different about math, then 18 percent is a full 10 percent less than 28 percent, and Buffet pays a far lower percentage in taxes than does his secretary. That's why Buffet says that tax rates on the wealthy have to be increased (my point too). Moreover, Buffet says, "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Marshall: "My statisics [sic] for poverty are right here in charlottesville..."

democracy: Marshall makes a classic mistake in taking some data from Charlottesville (he doesn't cite where the "data" came from, but presumably it's from his own perception) and from his own limited anecdotal experience, generalizing it to the entire country, and then passing it off as "fact." It isn't. People used to look at the sun and think that it "moved" across the sky, and for millennia they accepted that as "fact." It wasn't (is this news to you, Bill Marshall?). We know what causes the apparent movement of the sun...but that knowledge is gleaned form science, not from limited perception.

Marshall: "We have a higher infant mortality rate because we actually TRY and save the babies instead of aborting them."

democracy: Bill, thanks...you make my point (again) about our health care system NOT being the best in the world. You are the one who said, earlier, that "the medical care we provide in 2011 is not the same as 1980, it is 10 times better..." If that is the case, then why do we fail to save all those babies you cite above? And Bill, for your information, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there have been more than a million abortions a year in the U.S. since 1975...

Marshall: "after the Bush Tax cuts FEDERAL REVENUES INCREASED"

democracy: Bill, this is nice conservative partisan "spin," but it is patently false. Economist Willliam Gale said "the cuts were large and drove revenue down sharply." Even conservative Ben Stein admitted that "the federal government collected roughly $1.004 trillion in income taxes from individuals in fiscal 2000, the last full year of President Bill Clinton’s merry rule. It fell to a low of $794 billion in 2003 after Mr. Bush’s tax cuts...Only by the end of fiscal 2006 did income tax revenue surpass the $1 trillion level again...By this time, we Republicans had added a mere $2.7 trillion to the national debt. So much for tax cuts adding to revenue."

Then, of course, came the Great Recession,a direct result of Bush's failed supply-side policies, with sharply reduced revenues and the necessary stimulus spending. Or perhaps, you would have preferred outright depression.

Marshall: "If the Republicans folded up and went home the Democrats would destroy this country in a year."

democracy: Ninety percent (90 percent, Bill!) of the current national debt was incurred under Republican presidents. Reagan talked about balanced budget a lot, but he never, ever produced one. The national debt more than quadrupled after 12 years of Reagan and Bush1. Bush2 more than doubled the national debt, and he left behind a final budget that was another $1.3 trillion in deficit, and he left behind more than 7 million job losses and a broken economy.

Only Bill Clinton, a Democrat, reduced spending, reduced the size of government and balanced the federal budget (multiple times), and generated budget surpluses (that Bush2 squandered). This is all a matter of public record. It is fact. That's a hard pill for conservatives to swallow, for to do so means they have to admit that they've been very seriously wrong. To admit error requires an open mind...not a trait characteristic of conservatives.

To use Betty's words, "MAN UP" Bill. Admit that there is a better way, and that conservative supply-side policy has steadily deteriorated the economic well-being, the general welfare, of the country.


When Reagan took office the total national debt, accumulated over 200 years was less than $1 trillion.

See: http://www.lafn.org/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html

Why should we be mad at warren buffet for paying a lower PERCENTAGE if he is paying MILLIONS more in real dollars. The government doesn't spend "percentages" it spends dollars.

Also the reason we have more baby deaths is because we actually TRY and save them... It is all about how you crunch the numbers. In other countries they abort as soon as there is an issue and the dead baby is not counted in the rate.

The way I remember it it was a Republican congress that shut down the spending during clinton and created workfare....

But the truth is that Congress spends too much across the board.

@ TimTaylor...did you not learn math in elementary, middle or high school? To add fractions with different denominators, one must convert to a common denominator.

To compare effective tax rates one must look at the percentage of income paid. Even Warren Buffet says it's wrong that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, who makes much, much less than he does.

Your memory is faulty. Republicans, under Newt Gingrich's "leadership," did indeed shut down the government during Clinton's presidency. Clinton wanted to spend more on Medicare and education and the environment (areas of spending that conservatives detest...except when they campaign on them) than did Republicans. The shutdown likely helped Clinton's re-election....and, by the way, Clinton campaigned, in part, on welfare reform in his first election.

And, in 1993 he raised taxes on the wealthy. That tax increase was contained in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The Congressional Budget Office noted that "The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA-93) relies on tax increases for much of its reduction in the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that OBRA-93 will reduce the deficit by $433 billion between 1994 and 1998. Of this amount, $241 billion (56 percent) will come from increased tax revenues, $77 billion (18 percent) from cuts in mandatory spending, $69 billion (16 percent) from cuts in discretionary spending, and $47 billion (11 percent) from lower debt-service costs."

Not a single Republican in Congress voted for that bill. Not one. They claimed it would lead to millions of job losses and "ruin" the economy. Instead, the result was the longest sustained period of economic growth in recent U.S. history with more than 22 million jobs created, reduced deficits, and balanced budgets...and surpluses. Once Bush2 came into office, he ignored threats of terrorist attacks and immediately set about to impose more supply-side tax cuts. We all know what happened next. 9/11. Big budget deficits. Refusal to pay for wars (one badly mismanaged, the other completely unnecessary, and both costly). A national debt that was more than doubled. A broken economy.

That is the conservative legacy.

@ Nancy Drew: Yes, the land use tax subsidy program in the county reduces tax revenues by $20 million a year (and rising), which means that the costs of local governance are pushed onto the owners (mostly middle and lower-income citizens) of the 40 percent of land that is NOT in the subsidy program.

Democracy, You need a trip to the real world. The budget surplusses of the 90s were caused by massive speculation in the dot com bubble which needed rescuing by the tax cuts to keep the economy running. The workfare program worked and now we have backslided...

Congress spent the money... both sides...

The CBO was proven wrong with thier estimates just like every other one because the CBO only computes numbers based on the information provided by whoever wants the truth twisted.

You think that Conservatives are all rich people who don't want to pay taxes but there are plenty of republican bricklayers who are upset that the work they want to do is done by illegals that Democrats want to give amnesty to and are also upset that with all the entitlment programs the welfare cheat next to them is living 90% as well as they do because the GOVERNMENT gives them food stamps, section 8, s chip, free school breakfast and lunch for the kids (withut reducing food stamps accordingly?) and refuses to force them to name the "baby daddy" so the state can force him to pay child support. (of course if the state were not so incompetent they could just stop by some evening and catch him crashing there on top of the woman getting all the benefits)

If you want to do a study on how bad off the poor are in america just do a neighborhood canvas and ask 10 questions

1) are you in poverty?
2) are you overweight?
3) do you smoke?
4 ) Do you ever consume alcohol?
5 ) Do you have a cell phone?
6) do you have internet?
7) do you have cable?
8) do you have a big screen tv?
8) does this house have A/C?
9) Do you oown a car?
10) What the hell makes you think you are poor?

The only thing the government "owes" its people is a safe envrionment, protection from criminals and enemies and the opportunity to better themselves without interference from the government or outsiders.

You have so little faith in mankind . People will step up and help thier neighbors on their own terms if people like you just get out of the way and stop robbing the middle class to feed the poor. You have to remember that the rich hold the cards and their entire tax bill is paid by the middle class who buy their goods and services.

Democracy, I agree that Reagan was the start of the big problem. His cutting taxes (and jobs will be created) seems to work at the local and state level (by taking jobs from other states and localities were wages are about the same but taxes are lower at X State or locality). We have seen some of this at the local level with incentives to move companies from Alb. to C-ville or vise versa. At the national level I don't think it works because at the same time you are doing this we've given out free trade agreements, most favored nation agreements etc. and lower wages oversees overrides it. Programs (tax credits) and tax cuts for the wealthy have to end and there might have to be an added national sales tax (regressive) so everyone pays a tax for this budget mess. (as 51% of americans are paying no income tax now* I think I saw this) Obama's 2012 budget just lost 97 to 0 in the senate, he's not leading on this either.


I love how folks like you always want to carry on about cell phone,weight and a car as a way of ignoring bigger realities in this country, such as poverty. We live in a country where if you don't own a car, you can't hold a job, unless you are in a major city. The monthly bill ona cell phone is the cost of a single GP visit, if you are lucky.You certainly can't pay half a monthly insurance premium for a healthy, young single male, for a monthly cell phone bill.

Saying that poverty isn't so bad today as 35 years ago is pretending that the world today operates as it did then. Often poor people are overweight because the cheapest food is the most fattening, and a poorly balanced diet leads to all sorts of physical problems. It always has. So, unless poor people live where they can grow a garden, they are faced with what corporate American Food wants to sell.

I fully agree that people often don't make the best choices, and it annoys me to see satellite dishes in homes where kids don't have clean clothes. But many people in poverty do have jobs, and to attack them because they have chosen to purchase things that are a must have in a modern world - communication and transportation - is extremely disingenuous.


And I do agree with you that the middle class are expected to pay all the bills in the country.

@ Bill Marshall. It's you who needs a trip to the real world. While you sit in your air conditioned environs sipping bottled water, the people you judge to be just fine because they have internet or a cell phone are scrambling to make ends meet.

This isn't Haiti. To say that because someone eats or that they are overweight, they aren't poor is an asinine statement. People aren't poor by choice, not many anyway. This isn't about Republicans or Democrats, they both suck. We have a broken government that no longer represents the people of this great country. It represents money, plain and simple. If you have money, you have a voice. If not, crooked, bought and paid for politicians speak for you, God help us all.

There is a HUGE problem if someone worth billions is paying taxes at a lower rate than someone earning tens of thousands. They should at least be equal. What the government "owes" us is representation for all, not just the wealthy. Money doesn't make you more important, at least outside your office it doesn't.

Just go to Sams on the first of the month. This time consuming experience will enlighten those above concerned about the poor people who would rather be living off government subsidies than working like the rest of us that pay the tax for their life of leisure. Steak for the dog because you can't use food vouchers for dog food. More kids = more government money. Wake up to the fact that it is better to be "poor" in this country than be middle class. Free food, free medical care, free housing and the middle class pays as do the wealthy. You can never be too thin or too rich and you can never be too poor or too fat.

@Earwig. Wow! Sounds like the life. Just kick back, "living a life of leisure", in my government subsidized home, eating off food stamps, enjoying free medical care and feeding my dog steak....

This isn't about "feeling their pain" and it isn't about charity. It's about people at the downtown mall drinking a ten dollar cocktail, bitching about "the people across the street" messing up their bucolic little world. I can't believe how ignorant and callous people can be. You actually believe that people live this way by choice? That they want nothing more from their lives but bigger welfare checks? Yeah, it's just awesome to be poor in this country. I think you would get differing opinions from the "lucky ones" living in poverty in our fair city.

Why is anyone surprised that a bunch of crooks have gotten together and decided to use environmental protection as a ruse to rip off a group of taxpayers who appear to worship the environment as their God? Happens all the time. Why should anyone be upset either? Serves them right.

omgitspaul, I've qualified for food stamps for years, I don't recieve them. I struggle to find enough to eat by choice. Why should I believe that those who do qualify for food stamps and recieve them eat for free by choice? It doesn't sound like something they should be complaining about. It sounds like something they should be rejoicing about, especially considering how short a time they will continue to have free food.

Why shouldn't I believe they eat for free by choice, I should have said.

And I know people who eat for free with money the government stole from taxpayers who use drugs they bought with their welfare check every single day. I don't hang out with them anymore though because I found them hard to respect and they seemed to find me hard to respect as well.

@ JWG. How fortunate for you that you have qualified for assistance and chosen not to take advantage of it. Other than the few folks out there who see these benefits as a way of life, I'm sure the great majority would much rather be gainfully employed (in fact many are) and living a happy, healthy life. I'm bothered by how quickly we judge and condemn those less fortunate than ourselves.

This isn't a conspiracy, it's just an off-topic discussion on our f@^&ed up government and the people who continually blame the citizenry instead of the jacka$$es running the show, Wake up C'ville!

The rich do pay higher tax rates.. the tax rate increases ther more you make. The rich invest their money in businesses which gives you front end tax losses and taxable income later. If a guy buys a tow truck for 100k he gets to shelter the first 100k of income because that is a cost of doing business. Next year he pays taxes on the next 100k he earns... unless he buys another truck... but remember.. he is not consuming that money he is creating jobs by adding another truck... so if the guy buys a truck a year for ten years and then sells the business for a million dollars profit.. he has to pay taxes on the million dollars.... unless he buys an even bigger business for two million .. then he defers the taxes down the road... and so on and so forth... all the while though, the governmernt is getting taxes from the ten tow drivers whos job he created, the maintanance on all the trucks, property taxes on all the trucks, insurance agents , car dealers, mechanics and accountants were all employed... yet this guy is an sob because his "effective rate" is lower than yours ?

Substitue tow truck with seafood delivery, plumber, lawyer, builder, dry cleaner or whatever and you have the engine of america.

The poor in this country have it better than the blue collar middle class of 40 years ago and if you don't believe it go to any nursing home and ask an 85 year old what it was like when THEY were your age.

Despite what you here from people like democracy being poor in America is like being middle class in 75% of the rest of the world.

They never said Grace either.

Perhaps we can agree that not one penny of income tax paid in America goes towards the annual Federal budget (all to the debt), and hasn't since the early 80's when the Grace commission's financial report to President Reagan was issued.

What that means if I accepted food stamps, I woudln't just be stealing from today's taxpayers to feed myself, I'd be stealing from taxpayers children to feed myself, and their future grandchildren. What are they gonna eat when they're born? Ha ha ha! I don't care, it's not my fault!!

And Bill Marshall, the real rich don't pay any income taxes because they don't have any money in this country and any they do is in tax free foundations. They still own tons of property, but that's all in "Nature Conservancy" grants. Tax free.

@ Bill Marshall. This isn't the "rest of the world". I believe we hold ourselves to a little higher standard in this country. Being poor sucks here just as much as it does anywhere else. At least in a third world country you have a peer group. Here all you have are excuse making know-it-alls protecting the status quo. There is room for improvement that doesn't involve give aways. It primarily involves removing from office the aforementioned parasites.

And on taxes, of course I'm not talking about the blue collar guys trying to better their lot in life by starting a business of their own. And I would argue that the poor today do not have it better than the working class of yesteryear. My father could count on having the same job for most of his life if chose to. My mother was home raising the kids because it was possible to support a family on one income. Those same one income people were able to buy a modest home and maybe take a vacation every year or two. I don't know what country you grew up in but it wasn't the same one we live in today.

So, just for the record Bill...you condone paying billions in corporate welfare to oil companies that are currently enjoying record profits? Is that part of your "cost of doing business" formula?

It makes me sick to hear from older folks that we have it better than they did too when those who were born before 1950 (late 40's in some areas) were not deliberately brain damaged and DNA damaged since birth by fluoride by the government, they weren't deliberately brain damaged by vaccines, they weren't being bombarded by frequency pollution of all kinds like cell phones, base stations, power lines, etc, they didn't have to eat food genetically modified to slowly kill you off and sterilize you by the government, the cops were friendly and trusted by far, the money was still somewhat backed by silver, they had a paradise compared to today yet lots of old folks think kids have it easy these days when their future, and increasingly their present life, is a hell on earth by any decent standard, as Bertrand Russell would say.

They weren't spraying chemtrails all over the place. Had to put that in there too.

So, just for the record Bill...you condone paying billions in corporate welfare to oil companies that are currently enjoying record profits? Is that part of your "cost of doing business" formula?

What I do know is that the four BILLION in tax credits the oil industry gets is less than a days worth of governments OVERspending. It was and is a scapegoat in order to avoid the real pain of making cuts that matter.

close the oil company loophole and I don't care, but the point will still remain that Congress gives away the store and then finds scapegoats to take the spotlight off of their misdeeds.

You cannot tax the rich enough to solve the spending problem. So a deal needs to be struck, Raise the taxes on the top 10% one dollar for every two dollars in cuts... I am ok with that and I am ok with having ALL categories on the table, BUT we also need to address the very REAL issue that too much money is being spent subsidizing people who milk the system...

Institue drug testing for all welfare recipients... if they fail no check.. if they fail twice no check of a year... if they fail three times, no check until they are clean for two years.

How much would rents drop if the government got out of the free housing business?

It's too easy to pass a drug test for me to believe that'll make a difference. And as I understand it, the problem is 1000 to one fractional reserve lending and the 1.5 quadrillion in worthless derivitives speculation (created by Goldman Sach's et al fraud) that the bailout left us to pay off. It's not really the moochers causing the problems anyway. As I understand it, you could tax every last penny of income that every single person in America earns in one year and it still would be a drop in the bucket of the debt to the private, for profit Federal Reserve banking cartel.

It's too easy to pass a drug test for me to believe that'll make a difference. And as I understand it, the problem is 1000 to one fractional reserve lending and the 1.5 quadrillion in worthless derivitives speculation (created by Goldman Sach's et al fraud) that the bailout left us to pay off. It's not really the moochers causing the problems anyway. As I understand it, you could tax every last penny of income that every single person in America earns in one year and it still would be a drop in the bucket of the debt to the private, for profit Federal Reserve banking cartel.

@ Bill Marshall. How much do YOU think rents would drop in C'ville if we stopped section 8
housing? Not a dime Bill! It would go up because the "undesirables" wouldn't be able to afford
to live here. Blaming the poor for the countrys problems is patently ridiculous. I won't argue
anymore, I'm out of hot air. It's like talking to a wall. We don't have to be right, we have to be better.

The rents would not go UP if section 8 was disbanded. The simple fact is that these people with subsidies would have less to pay and landlords would have less people with the money to pay their rents. Rents would fall.

Bill Marshall is, indeed, a true conservative: obtuse, narrow-minded, resistant to factual information that contradicts his predetermined perceptions, and concerned about "me" rather than "we," especially when it comes to money. More interesting, Bill undermines his own arguments (as I've pointed out in comments above).

Several times Marshall has made the comment that the "poor" are better off now than they were decades ago. If that is the case, then Marshall is agreeing that government programs and interventions actually work, and that government is not "the problem" that Marshall and other conservatives so often say it is.

Marshall also agrees (above) that the tax code is stacked in favor of "business," corporations, and the wealthy.
Marshall agrees that these entities continually "defer the taxes down the road" while those in the lower- and middle-income groups get stuck with the tax bills. This is, in fact, conservative republican orthodoxy; the key element in supply-side economic policy to "proliferate the rich." That's why big corporations seek welfare and bailouts,and why they often pay little or no incomes taxes. It's why private equity partners and hedge fund managers pay a flat 15 percent interest on their million- and billion-dollar incomes, much less than typical working class citizens pay.

Of course, the downside is that supply-side economics has only benefited the corporate elite and the wealthy. The failure of that policy for everybody else is self-evident (except to conservatives); huge budget and trade deficits, the ballooning of the national debt, the mortgage and financial crises, millions of job loses, and a broken economy.

Like other conservatives, Marshall doesn't let facts intrude on his fantasy world. Marshall swipes aside Congressional Budget Office details of Clinton's 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act by saying it was "wrong." To recap, the CBO estimated that the Clinton bill – that got not one single republican vote – would
"reduce the deficit by $433 billion between 1994 and 1998... $241 billion (56 percent) will come from increased tax revenues, $77 billion (18 percent) from cuts in mandatory spending, $69 billion (16 percent) from cuts in discretionary spending, and $47 billion (11 percent) from lower debt-service costs."

Bill, the CBO was correct. The Clinton budget legislation worked. See the chart below...


Deficits immediately began to decrease. And, Clinton did balance budgets, multiple times, and preside over unprecedented economic growth. No recent Republican president has ever balanced the federal budget, not once. Do you dispute any of this, because it is all a matter of public record.

The Congressional Budget Office is one of the best economic forecasters in the nation. As Republican economist Bruce Bartlett notes, conservatives don't like the CBO because it refutes their big lies. As Bartlett puts it: "CBO’s great sin, in Republican eyes, is that it’s always telling them that their pet ideas are wrong: tax cuts don’t automatically pay for themselves through the Laffer Curve, the Affordable Care Act didn’t raise the deficit, the budget can’t be balanced only by cutting domestic discretionary spending, and other heresies to Republican dogma."

For example, the CBO finds that repealing Obama's health care reform legislation will "increase the deficit by $230 billion." Even worse, as Bartlett points out is that the Paul Ryan "budget plan,' chock full of conservative supply-side chicanery, "cuts taxes for the rich and pays for it by raising taxes on the middle class," and "reduce federal revenues by $2.9 trillion over the next decade."

Conservatives like to say that tax cuts "stimulate" growth and lead to higher tax revenues. But it's never worked, and it's the biggest lie they tell. In truth, even conservative economists agree that tax cuts do NOT pay for themselves. Alan Viard, a Bush2 economist said about the Bush tax cuts, "“Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There’s really no dispute among economists about that.” Robert Carroll, a Bush2 Treasury Department tax analyst said, “As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves.” Hank Paulson, Bush2's Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs chief, and initiator of the TARP bailout said, "“As a general rule, I do not believe that tax cuts pay for themselves.” Bush2 economist Edward Lazear, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said about Bush's tax cuts, “Will the tax cuts pay for themselves? As a general rule, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves."

Yet conservative politicians keep perpetrating the big lie while their corporate and wealthy allies pile up big bank accounts, and everybody else gets stuck with the big bill for it. Perversely, Bill Marshall says they are only being given "the opportunity to better themselves."

@ Tim Taylor. I disagree with your logic. Developers in this town would love to get their greedy hands on any and all property in this area. They won't be building "affordable housing" either. I have been fortunate enough to have lived all over this country and rents don't go down, ever, anywhere. Re-development costs money, infrastructure costs money. No one invests money without expectation of return on their investments. Once the "unsightly neighborhoods were razed, the housing built would reflect just that. The land is just too valuable to developers.

1)I agree the poor have more because of government programs. I also agree that if I went to china and borrowed another trillion and rained it down on them they would have more still. What is YOUR point?

2) Revenues increased after the bush tax cuts. The problem is that government spending increased instead of stabilized and we got further behind, No different than someone getting a 50 dollar a week raise but spending 100. Spending is the problem. Just look at local spending budgets have exceeded inflation until the recession by double digits.

3) All those corporations that pay no taxes is a lie. Although they may reinvest and defer INCOME taxes (taxes on profits) they pay 7% of their payroll to SS and medicare. They pay inventorry taxes, property taxes real estate taxes, envrionmentl fees utilitiy taxes and they provide jobs so that their employees can have money to pay taxes. Every income tax dollar that is taken out of an employees check originated because an EMPLOYER created a job.

4) The real debate here seems to be the definition of "fair share" If Warren Buffet works his but off to make a billion dollars and pays 20% in taxes but still pays 200 MILLION in taxes you think he isn't paying his fair share because his secreatary is paying 30% on her 100k income (30k) but what you FAIL to give credit for is all the income that Warren Buffet brought to the federal coffers by creating jobs, He rescued Geico from bankruptsy. How many people do you think work for geico? Hell he even got a lizard a job.... Why does he not get credit for that? Also.. who do you think can create more jobs with the 5 million he keeps; him or Obama? When was the last time you saw Warren Buffet on a golf course?

Well, I'm just glad Biscuit Run will be a park and not a megadevelopment. Sometimes corruption has a decent result. On the whole, though, I agree with what democracy has posted.

Hey Dawg, how "glad" will you be when there a dozen smaller developments causing massive tax increases to cover a dozen pressure points on the infrasstucture? How glad will you be when the traffic is backed up in a dozen different places that are not a mile from 64 and two miles from UVA? how mad will you be when the School system puts an additional 100k a year in its busses (at 5 bucks a gallon) to the spread out kids?

The bottom line is that they will build houses as soon as demand picks up. This debacle did not stop a single home. so long as there is a willing buyer there will be a willing builder.

We got shafted royally on this deal and I am sure ten years from now the Hook will be able to write an article adding up the money spent on purchase and development, subtract any admission fees and then divide that number by the number of visitors. My guess is that each "visit" will have cost the taxpayers about a hundred bucks a trip. (50 million in net costs and half a million visitors)

And that doesn't include the costs the county will have sperading out the infrstructure.

The county sitting by and letting this happen is like a brother that allows his sisters husband to beat her.

Bill Marshall...

* the "point" about social programs is that they often work quite well, yet conservatives routinely bash government and say programs do NOT work. One that works extremely well is Medicare, yet the Republican plan is to gut it (Medicaid too).

* in my comment above, I specifically stated that many large, profitable corporations, even those who receive government contracts and bailouts "often pay little or no INCOME taxes." That is a fact. While they may pay other taxes, so do those people that you cite earlier as paying no income taxes.

* revenues after the Bush2 tax cuts did NOT increase, unless you are referring to gross dollar amounts, and you probably are. As a percentage of GDP, those cuts resulted in decreased revenues. As top Bush2 economic advisros admitted in October of 2006 " the tax cuts…cut deeply into government revenue.”

* You continue to cite Warren Buffet to support your view that he pays more in taxes than his secretary, but Buffet himself argues against your false belief. Simplified, your "argument" is that a millionaire who is taxed at a rate of 5 percent and pays $50,000 in taxes is taxed higher than a person who makes $50,000 a year and is taxed at a rate of 20 percent and pays $10,000 in taxes. The millionaire may pay MORE actual dollars (because he makes so much more) than the other guy. But the only fair and accurate (and mathematically correct) comparison is the effective tax rate, and the guy who makes $50,000 is taxed FOUR TIMES higher than the millionaire. You think this is "fair." That's why you're a conservative.

* In fact, Bill Marshall, the tax code in this nation is heavily skewed in favor of the wealthy and corporations. Nearly twenty years ago, the U.S. had one of the lowest overall tax rates of all the developed nations (our tax rates now are at sixty year lows). And, even then, the top income tax rate was one of the lowest. Yet, even almost twenty years ago, as a result of supply-side economic policies, the U.S. was the most economically stratified of all of the developed countries, and it's gotten much worse since then. Worse, while our overall tax burden was low compared to other developed nations, the average worker's take-home pay was LESS than that of other developed nations. That's one reason Warren Buffet said, "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

* I'll bet that you think Ronald Reagan was a great president...most conservatives do. Would it shock you to learn that Reagan signed into law tax increases in six of his eight years in office? Maybe you would be surprised to learn that "while wealthy Americans benefitted from Reagan's tax policies, blue-collar Americans paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes when Reagan left office than when he came in." And while Reagan used to say often that "government is the problem," he increased the size of the federal government and exploded the national debt through supply-side economic policies.

* some final comments on Warren Buffet...when Republicans were pushing hard for the elimination of any tax on dividends, form which the wealthy derive much of their income, Buffet wrote a piece in the Washington Post
making clear that the only beneficiaries of the bill were the rich, and that he would gain a tax free profit of more than $300 million from such a move, driving his tax rate down to 3 percent. The bill did not pass.

Buffet wrote a 21-page letter to shareholders in 2004 arguing for higher corporate tax rates, noting that corporations only paid 7.4 percent of total federal tax receipts in 2003, a seventy-year low. And Buffet issued this challenge to America's richest: "I'll bet a million dollars against any member of the Forbes 400 who challenges me that the average (federal tax rate including income and payroll taxes) for the Forbes 400 will be less than the average of their receptionists."

Not one member of that elite group has taken Buffet up on his challenge. Even Lloyd Blankfein, the chief of money-sucking, financial-disaster-causing, and bailout recipient Goldman Sachs has said that the huge and still-growing income inequality in the U.S. was “poisoning democracy."

@ democracy...I think I love you, lol. You just keep pulling their heads out of the sand. Nice job!


Even the poorest of Americans pays sales, taxes, utilities taxes, and property taxes. Those taxes are all known to be highly regressive. I also take great issue with this statement:

"they provide jobs so that their employees can have money to pay taxes."

Businesses provide jobs to make money, not so their employees can pay taxes. And as they pay lower and lower wages, those people pay fewer taxes, something which you lvoe to attack the worker for as well.

Basically, my impression from you is that employees are damned if they, or damned if they don't. They are to blame for business problems, they are to blame for their declining wages, they are to blame for not paying as many taxes because they get paid less. Its always all their fault. Its never the fault of management.

Why should any American be motivated to show up and work hard for a company if they are going to receive less income for doing it? Why be more productive? Why invest in an education. Skill costs money. So they don't. And then these same chiseling businesses run crying to the government to get them cheap employees from overseas that they can take advantage of, instead of dealing with market forces.

And here speaks the libertarian by the way.

This country is about to suffer a massive brain drain, as Americans are already going far afield to find jobs, that actually pay something. Other countries don't mind paying for skill.

Thank you Clara Belle Wheeler and the Hook for keeping this story alive. This is out and out government corruption. Bob McDonnell is trying a "plausible deniability" approach to Biscuit Run. You lost my support and future support over this issue Gov. McDonnell.

"Show me secrecy and I will show you abuse and corruption".

And handing out taxpayer money is NOT a confidential process between respective taxpayers and the Virginia Department of Taxation. It is an open process between the TAXPAYERS getting screwed and the taxpayers getting bailed out for their gross incompetence.

Folks - have you read a single word about the Biscuit Run tax rip off in the Daily Progress?

@RTGreenwood and others....

Not to be but so petty, but has anybody read much of anything of substance in the Daily Progress in...months? years?

Warren Buffet paid a lower tax percentage than his secretary by living off of capital gains taxed at 15%. Forget the whole loopholes, tax lawyers, etc. nonsense. It' much simpler.

@democracy - look for conservatives to lead the charge against tax credits and the Biscuit Run fiasco. I'll let you know as it happens.

BTW, I see your postings on a regular basis in the Daily Progress. Somebody's reading it.................

Slight clarification: Buffet lives on DIVIDENDS and long term capital gains both taxed at 15%. No fancy, expensive tax lawyers required.

The Pew Center reported in April 2011 the cause of a $12.7 trillion shift in the debt situation, from a 2001 CBO forecast of a cumulative $2.3 trillion surplus by 2011 versus the estimated $10.4 trillion (14 actually) public debt we actually face in 2011. The major drivers were:

Revenue declines due to the recession, separate from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003: 28%
Defense spending increases: 15%
Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003: 13%
Increases in net interest: 11%
Other non-defense spending: 10%
Other tax cuts: 8%
Obama Stimulus: 6%
Medicare Part D: 2%
Other reasons: 7%[53]

@RtGreenwood....notice that I asked "has anybody read much of anything of SUBSTANCE" in the Daily Progress of late....articles that routinely appear in The Hook put the Progress to shame...it's never really been the same paper since the Richmond Times-Dispatch took control of it.

As to your comments on Warren Buffet, Buffet is saying that tax rates on the wealthy (like on dividends and capital gains) need to be raised. And, then there's the issue of income for private equity partners and hedge fund managers, now termed "carried interest," and taxed at the flat 15 percent rate.

Regarding your citation of the Pew Fiscal Initiative data, you help to make the point the that the policies of Obama have very little to do with the current debt problem. I've been telling you this for quite some time (if you've truly read those posts in the Progress). You also make the point, through Pew, that George W. Bush and supply-side economic policies have very much to do with the current debt problem. I've been telling you that for a long time too. (Strangely, and perversely, the Tea Party folk just fail to grasp these facts.)

Here's some other information from the Pew report:

* "the main drivers of the debt, by far, are the tax cuts and spending increases enacted since 2001;"
(now, guess who pushed those tax cuts and was responsible for the vast majority of that spending? I bet you voted for that president, didn't you? Twice!))

* Congressional Budget Office projections in 2001 "foreshadowed a decade of budget surpluses that would pay off all redeemable federal debt by 2006.”
(guess which president, who raised taxes in 1993 without a single vote of Republican support in Congress, was responsible for the policies that would have paid down that debt? I bet you voted against him...twice).

* “Between 2001 and 2011, about two-thirds (68 percent) of the $12.7 trillion growth in federal debt has been due to new legislation. Forty percent of this legislative growth was the result of tax cuts enacted after January 2001, and 60 percent resulted from spending increases.”
(again, we know who is responsible –– both person and party –– for the vast majority of the debt.)

As I've told you before RT, you've been snookered. You bought into the supply-side nonsense. It started with Reagan, continued through Bush1, and went hyper with Bush2. We see the results. And while people and political posers can lie about the causes –– and they do –– that doesn't mean we need to believe their lies.

At the link below, Colbert makes fun of the posers and their current "stand" on the debt ceiling. The clip is titled "Dancing on the Ceiling," and it pokes serious fun at Republicans who "show their Tea Party base that they're against raising the debt ceiling, while reassuring Wall Street that it's political theater."


Actually, the entire Republican economic policy package over the last thirty years has been political theater. Very dangerous political theater, that has grievously imbalanced economic stratification, piled up massive debt,
created very severe economic structural problems, and imperiled the economic future.

Education historian Diane Ravitch, who once championed George Allen's Standards of Learning tests and George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation, now admits that she was wrong. Increasingly, she says, the data prove that these "reforms" have made education worse, and not better.

Are you now admitting that your conservative brethren screwed things up, and that the data prove it?


Just curious RT....you DID vote for Bush, right? Twice?

And Reagan? Twice?

And you DID vote against Clinton, right? Twice?

And you ARE a Tea Partier? Right?

Obama is cleaning up the mess left behind by Bush and conservative economic policies (just like Mark Warner had to clean up the budgetary mess left behind by Jim Gilmore...bet you voted for him too, right?).

This is not about black and white, RT (although to many conservatives and Tea Partiers, it is indeed about black and white). It's about what works, and what doesn't, and the data clearly show that supply-side policies do not work (except for corporations and the wealthy).

It's about promoting the general welfare for all of society, or only for select portions of it.

It's about democracy versus oligarchy.

Given the data that you cited (and what I added, that you left out): Are you now admitting that your conservative brethren screwed things up, and that the data prove it?

Demo brother - Obama is cleaning up the mess by passing Obamacare? You need a life.


I get your point, but I would be careful about assuming what Buffet lives off of. While his philosophy is the 5 year run, if you dig in I bet you find deals a lot more complicated. I think what we can all agree is wrong is that we tax different forms of income differently. We punish actually labor/achivers/producers, and we reward those who could basically be living off of a trust fund from their parents. Imagine the difference between a family of 4 with an income of 100k on dividends and long term gains, and a family of 4 with the parents pulling in the same amount but working for a paycheck. Their burden is much higher, taxed in the 25% rate, yet their needs are no greater, and o less. Completely an totally unfair, I think we can agree.

Excellent investigative reporting. Please keep up the great work!