The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Virginia Boom

Over at Commonwealth Watch, NJB has a good post about the population growth in Virginia since the 2000 census. He says:
Virginia remains the 12th largest state in the country, though it gained more people than all except six other states (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina).
Here, again, is another reason that the Warner-Kaine tax increase logic is so fuzzy. Not only do we have an enormous surplus, but the tax base is ever expanding, particularly in the wealthiest parts of the state.

It also gives the Virginia GOP a good reason to be on its toes as we near another redistricting effort in 2010.


Blogger J.Sarge said...

More people means more than an expanded tax base, it means an increased demand for services, as well as greater traffic on existing roads.

Now, in theory an expanding tax base should solve much of that problem - every additional person brings with him a marginal part of the solution along with a marginal part of the problem. However, given certain costs (such as Medicaid) that are mandated by the federal government, the pie of state obligations is not expanding proportionately. Even if it were, there is no guarantee that the same economies that exist for a smaller population would continue to exist for a larger one. I'm not going to debate the pros and cons of Governor Kaine's, the Senate's or the House's plan (should they develop one) here. I just wanted to note that marginal returns are only a part of the story (although a part that should not be overlooked).

5:51 PM

Blogger Poli Amateur said...

Good points J. Sarge. An often overlooked piece of population growth is the composition of it. The demographic detail always tell the tale of what direction the government is heading -- is it picking up net users or net providers?

It sounds sort of cold to look at residents in that way (in a pure financial sense), but from a policy standpoint, it has to be done to properly and adequately prepare for the future.

I feel strongly that many government services, and in particular transportation, have a tiered, and not linear, cost curve, which makes it essential to know exactly, or at least as closely as possible, the demand in the pipeline.

8:07 PM


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