From 2000-2010 (fiscal years 2001-2011) Spotsylvania raised its real property tax rate a total of 33 cents By the end of that period, businesses were leaving us in droves.
Starting in 2011, the year before I joined the Board, we had a six year period with no net increase or decrease in taxes. But now the Board has raised taxes three of the last four years. (I voted against all three of those budgets.) I fear we are falling back into the trap of annual tax increases which discourage employers from coming here. Many will argue that our tax rate is still lower than some of our neighbors’ but employers looking for a place to locate don’t just look at today but at what the conditions are likely to be 5 or 10 years from now.
In the last four years I have voted for more education spending than any other Supervisor. This may surprise some who read the paragraphs above on taxes but the tax increases we have seen have not gone to the schools.
In 2016, as we debated the FY2017 budget, I proposed a budget which would have increased school funding by $6.1 million. The Board passed a budget with an increase of $5.1 million.
In 2017, my proposed budget passed 6-1 with nearly $3 million additional funding for schools. The lone dissenting Supervisor supported a budget with the same number for schools, differing on other issues.
In 2018, I made the motion to fully fund the schools’ request at a $5 million increase. The final budget the Board passed came close to that but when it came time to appropriate the money, the Board held back $1 million which had been budgeted for the schools. Ostensibly that was because the schools were getting $8000K more from the state. With one Supervisor absent, I was the only one to vote against holding back that money on a 5-1 vote.
This year, my original budget proposal and the alternative offered by Supervisor Marshal both had an increase for the schools of $3.8 million.
Before the recession began, the Fredericksburg area was approaching the saturation point when it comes to retail. If we are going to grow and regain our prosperity, Spotsylvania County must move beyond being merely a bedroom community.
The average job in Spotsy pays $16.25/hour while the average wage for those living here is $65,000/year. It's no wonder that most of those who live here (myself included) commute out of the county. If we expand beyond retail we can bring in higher paying jobs which will mean less congestion for those of us who do commute out of the area. It will mean our children may be able to stay here when they finish school. It will mean we are less dependent on other jurisdictions for our prosperity.
For Retailers who are already here, expanding beyond retail means our Economic Development Authority will spend more time and effort bringing in customers for our retailers and less time bringing in competitors.
The county's assistance in bringing in the new hospital was a step in the right direction as was the recent expansion of technology zones. I want to extend the technology zones further. And we are not just talking about companies that produce technology but companies that use a great deal of it including defense contractors, health care goods producers and educational research.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri before moving to Virginia in 1987 after graduating college. I went to Cornell College in Iowa for my undergraduate studies and received a BA in Politics and Economics. I continued on to graduate school at George Mason and received an MA in history and a Ph.D. in public policy.
I also taught public policy at American and George Mason Universities. I worked for the federal government for 22 years, half with the legislative branch and half with the executive branch as an economist. With the legislative branch I worked for Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wi) who was Chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee. For three years I was with the Federal Highway Administration. These two jobs involved many of the same transportation issues we deal with here at the local level. Currently, I am with the Department of Defense.
I am married to Michele who is from Dover, Delaware where she attended the University of Delaware. She currently works for Genworth Financial in Richmond. We do not have any kids but are the proud owners of two dogs. I have been a church treasurer, a youth counselor, and care group leader at my church. I also run our neighborhood watch and have been active in my church all my life.
"I wasn't born here but as soon as I was old enough to choose where I would live I came here to Virginia."
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Office of Paul Trampe
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