Thursday, November 11, 2010

Big Govt. in Richmond Keeping Arlington Dirtier Than It Should Be

2006 ACE Four Mile Run CleanupAnyone who's taken part in a stream or park cleanup with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment knows what a pervasive problem plastic bags are. They get tangled up in the branches of bushes & trees or among the rocks & sticks in a stream bed and can stay there for months or years until someone comes to remove them, one by one. If the bag washes out to the Potomac River, it ends up in the open ocean, degrading into smaller & smaller pieces of plastic that work their way into the food chain.

A small incentive to use reusable bags could go a long way towards keeping Arlington cleaner AND bring in some much-needed revenue. So what's the holdup? Under Virginia's antiquated Dillon Rule system, Arlington has to ask Virginia's General Assembly for permission first:
County Board members will again next year ask the General Assembly for permission to either ban single-use plastic bags at retail outlets, like supermarkets and convenience stores, or to be given the authority to tax them.
You'd think Democrats & Republicans would be able to come together on giving communities a greater degree of home rule -- what does a Republican from Botetourt County care if Arlington wants to get rid of plastic bags?

But this is less an issue of politics than it is of power. General Assembly members like being able to tell communities what they can & can't do. After all, why would they want to give up their ability to pass along unfunded mandates to communities? They can take credit for making something happen without having to take the blame of raising taxes to pay for it. Sounds like a win-win! For 140 politicians in Richmond, anyway.
Post a Comment