Opinion — Once upon a time

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, April 7, 2022

In the 1980s, (we had just recovered from the high inflation of the 1970s which had stagnated our economy) President Reagan proposed indexing the standard deduction for families. Prior to that, the standard deduction was similar for both the state and federal level. Because Virginia did not follow suit and index Virginia’s deduction, we now have a major difference. Virginia significantly lags behind the federal government’s standard deduction now. It has only been increased in Virginia when the General Assembly agrees to such action.

If Virginia had followed the Reagan proposed indexing, we would not have such a big difference in the budgets proposed by the House and Senate. It would have been automatically raised to match inflation. Instead, we currently have a stalemate between the two groups working on the budget.

The House is supporting the Governor in believing that the taxpayers of Virginia deserve a higher standard deduction considering the record-breaking inflation that is occurring and can be expected to drain our bank accounts for some time to come. I agree with them.

The Senate position is to ignore inflation. Their only goal is to prevent the Governor from having a success. In doing so, they are ignoring what the majority of Virginians voted for last November. They are ignoring families that are struggling with the price of gas and groceries we are all paying today and will for the foreseeable future.

INFLATION PROBLEMS

Most everyone loses from inflation except for the government. Actually, the government, as we are currently seeing, is a big winner. As prices of everything go higher, the sales tax the state collects rises. Consider that today the used car market is 42% above last year. That is a big increase. The buyer must also pay the Department of Motor Vehicles a higher titling tax.

Meanwhile, with higher prices, employers are forced to give raises to their staff just to keep them above water with their household budgets. This also provides a windfall for the government. Income taxes for Virginians is 6 and a half percent. Therefore, every time anyone gets a raise, so does the government.

The budget issue will eventually be concluded one way or the other. The difference this year from years in the past is that the two budgets are billions apart. Traditionally, when a budget has not been completed on time, there is story after story in the news media about the issue. Reporters are talking to school and local officials and report how horrible things are going to be if the stalemate is not concluded quickly. This year, most school officials are ho-hum. They know that, despite the big differences, they will receive about the same funding. Without local government and colleges pushing, don’t expect a quick resolution.

BASKETBALL

While many in our area have been excited to have two Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the final four tournament, we may have missed a more important story. The story is not that a few final four freshmen will take their success to the NBA draft and become professional players. The more important stories are from Virginia. At the University of Richmond, several of the players this year had not only graduated from college but stayed to play and work on graduate degrees because of a commitment to their teammates.

One of those players that we all should be proud of is Jacob Gilyard. Not only did he break the all-time record for steals, but he was recognized for his commitment to his younger brother who is autistic. Gilyard has won the Senior CLASS Award, given to one senior or graduate student in the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball, in recognition of his achievements in competition, the classroom, the community and one’s character. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award is chosen by a nationwide vote of Division 1 men’s basketball coaches, national basketball media and fans. It is given annually to the most outstanding graduate student or senior student athlete in Division 1 men’s basketball. Gilyard remains active in the effort to promote awareness and acceptance of autism and has worked with the Richmond program and Autism Speaks.

When one looks for role models in sports, look no further than a student athlete like Jacob Gilyard.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.