Conservative Viewpoints

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Is it time for Sime in the Senate?

Posted by Stephen on March 12, 2007

Libertarian Arin Sime believes it’s time for a change in how leaders approach politics in Richmond. He is running for the Senate seat in the 24th district currently occupied by Senator Emmitt Hanger who is facing Scott Sayre for the Republican nomination.

Like Sayre, Sime’s toughest job is getting his name and ideas in front of the voting public. Sime has been knocking on doors, talking to people, and working on his campaign for a year. At the moment, Sime finds himself enjoying the people and festivities at the annual Highland Maple Festival in Monterey, Virginia where he will be on March 17-18 as well.

“Right now we’re here at the Maple Festival and we’ll be here next weekend as well meeting people. Now that the weather is warming up we’ll be starting our door knocking campaign to meet as many people as we can to let people know about the campaign. People will be paying more attention to the primary for the next couple of months. We’re preparing for the general election and we feel really good about where the campaign is headed and the response we have received has been wonderful,” shared Sime who has a prime location inside the entrance of Monterey High School.

“There’s a lot of sentiment for change in the district. I think there’s a lot of people that feel that the values in the district, the fiscal discipline that sort of thing, they’re not seeing it in the State Senate and not in the General Assembly at all,” added Sime.

Sime says that the principle issue people are discussing with him is fiscal responsibility, taxes, school choice, and eminent domain reform. “People want to know that they have someone representing them that’s a strong supporter of gun rights, who supports fiscal discipline and low taxes, limited government, that supports school choice, who’s pro-life, and all of those things that I support and in general keeping government regulation low.”

Sime does not shy away from conversations regarding the difficult challenges that face Virginians, nor does he hesitate to express his disappointment in the current direction legislators are moving. Transportation, the gorilla in Richmond, is an example of a key issue that concerns Sime.

“If I’m forced to choose between what the House of Delegates wants and the State Senate wants then I suppose I’ll very reluctantly support what the House of Delegates wants, but I really don’t consider either one of them a solution. What you’ve got is the classic model that shows that Republicans want to spend and put us in debt. Democrats want to spend and raise taxes,” and he adds, “there is a possibility of spending less maybe, and maybe saying that if our state government has grown 118 percent in 8 years then that’s enough.”

Sime points to the spending increases while explaining that he believes that legislators need to set priorities much more efficiently. “Transportation is a red herring in the debate in Richmond. Everybody funds all the other programs 10, 20, 30, 40 percent more sometimes and then at the end they say ‘oops, we don’t have enough money for transportation.’ That’s dishonest in my estimation; it’s misleading to the people. Transportation is a core function of government so let’s take care of that first,” said Sime.

Sime proposes true fiscal discipline and calls for courage among Virginia leaders when discussing the complexity of transportation. “What if we just froze growth for one year? Let’s take some of that money, because revenue is still growing, and put it toward transportation. That’s a reasonable thing to do but leaders act as though there’s not enough money to do that. I say it’s a matter of priorities,” explained Sime. Sime adds that as part of the solution the gas tax should be used as a user feel and applied toward transportation needs.

While state leaders grapple with finding revenues to address transportation, it is important to note that existing revenues have not been directed toward the problem. Sime points out that no revenue from Virginia’s income tax revenues and only 10 percent of sales tax revenues are spent on transportation. Additionally, over 300 million dollars was siphoned from the Transportation Trust Fund in 2002 for other purposes.

Sime is an adamant supporter of a constitutional amendment that would protect the transportation trust fund. “Absolutely, and the Freedom and Prosperity Act is something I support which endorses such an amendment,” stated Sime who added, “It passed in the House but unfortunately it died in the Senate.”

Property assessments are another issue Sime addresses on the campaign trail. “People think of assessments as a local issue but the state has a role to play with that too. It is the state constitution that determines how your property is taxed. The way it happens right now is misleading in that it’s all assessment based. No matter whether it’s for schools, transportation or whatever the need is for that the local government wants to raise revenue for we’re in a situation now that rising assessments are being used to create a hidden tax increase. We need to reform the way we assess and tax property,” said Sime.

There’s an environmental aspect to the discussion. “The loss of farm land due to rising taxes through assessment creates an environmental problem. Farm owners are receiving a lot of pressure to sell, because they can’t afford the taxes, to developers to build subdivisions. That’s an environmental problem created by bad taxation,” added Sime.

Whether the issues are transportation to taxes, or from immigration to school choice, Arin Sime provides an impressive grasp of the conversation while providing proposals for long term solutions.

Sime desires an audience. The people of the 24th State Senate District desire a candidate who can represent them in Richmond. While their current choices include the incumbent, Republican Emmitt Hanger and Republican hopeful Scott Sayre, Sime feels he is best suited to merge those two desires, and come November, he hopes you agree.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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