Sales tax holiday
Virginias second back-to-school sales tax holiday is set from Aug. 3- 5.
During the three-day event, customers will not be charged the five percent state and local retail sales tax on school supplies priced at $20 or less per item, or on articles of clothing, including footwear, costing $100 or less each.
I was proud to join my General Assembly colleagues last year in approving this annual holiday to lend a hand to families preparing for the upcoming school year. Its also important to note that all shoppers not just back-to-school shoppers will avoid the sales tax when buying exempt items in Virginia during the tax holiday, and theres no requirement that the purchases be made for a student or for school purposes.
What better opportunity to invite your friends in D.C. and Maryland to come and enjoy a weekend of shopping in our community? More information about this and other upcoming sales tax holidays is available online at www.tax.virginia.gov.
Del. David Englin
A clone council?
Jim Roberts recent letter (Alexandria Times, July 26) pointing out the need for a ward/district system to elect our city council is right on. The recent election/coronation of Justin Wilson to fill the seat vacated by Andrew Macdonald was not really an election, but rather the fix is in election wherein every politician endorsed Mr. Wilson within 24 hours of Mr. Macdonalds resignation. Remember, the ink wasnt dry on the resignation letter and the body was still warm when Mr. Wilson entered the race as the chosen candidate for the local Democratic Party machine.
Mr. Wilson is a very nice young man who will not rock the boat, will be the good foot soldier who will vote as he is told and carried the local political message for the mayor throughout this very short campaign. His win was by a very slim margin and the words of Mayor Euille on election night, We may all be Democrats but we each have our own thoughts and vision for Alexandria. Justin brings that same independent spirit to Council. (Alexandria Times, July 19). Really? Could have fooled me and many other voters in Alexandria. The words independent thoughts, vision and spirit are certainly not part of the vocabulary now for our mayor or council, nor have they been for the past couple of years. Watch how the mayor and council vote during the next two years. We can all be sure the votes on major issues will be 7-0. We now have a clone council.
I dont understand why Alexandrians are so fearful of district elections for the council. This last election certainly made the point for the need for district elections or some council members elected by district and some at-large. Mr. Wilsons anointment by the party cancelled out any other Democrats who entered the race, but also pointed out that one no longer needs to be a native Alexandrian as has been the cry of former Council member David Speck. What appear to be the criteria for a Democrat to run for council are that they have worked on Mayors Euilles campaigns, i.e., Wilson, Lovain and have been appointed to BIFAC by the Mayor.
I would take Mr. Roberts request for district wide elections to another suggestion. Perhaps it is time to have term limits for our mayor and council. That doesnt mean someone cant run again after a rest period and if we can accomplish that, perhaps we can then have term limits for State representatives as well as Congressional seats. The argument of voting long term politicians out of office doesnt fly anymore. Incumbents have the money and name familiarity and we need some new blood enter the political system no matter whether it is at the local, state or federal level.
Whether its district elections for our council or term limits, Alexandrians want elected officials who will indeed have independent thinking and votes on crucial issues that affect our community. I believe there are some candidates from either party who are ready to enter the race for the next election and who should not be afraid of the local democratic machine.