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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Chuck Gammon's Latest Statement

From Elect Chuck Gammon.Com

We are hearing more talk today from certain City Council members about how we need to continue the progress that is being made locally. Well, the truth is, things are not getting progressively better, they are getting progressively worse.

Lynchburg City Council and the residents of Lynchburg are at a crossroad. On May 2nd, we as voters will face a choice.

For the past four years, our City has remained in economic decline. According to the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts, our regional, per-capita income is nearly 35% lower than the State average while our taxes and fees, as a percentage of our adjusted gross income are nearly 60% higher than the State average. While the City budget increases at about 6% per year, City wages and Salaries increase at only about 2% per year.

These gaps, in conjunction with the Combined Sewer Overflow (unfunded Federal mandate,) are just some of the reasons why Lynchburg residents are some of the most fiscally stressed in the Commonwealth.

According to the Milken Institute—among 200 regions across the country like Lynchburg, in five year wage and salary growth, our area ranks almost dead last at 181. This is the kind of progress Lynchburg can do without.

In order to make a positive change, Lynchburg City Council will require a change in thinking and in economic development policy. Council’s current policy consists of: changing the City signage and landscaping, building a high-end hotel downtown that there’s no market for, and then holding their breath to wait for new business to start pouring in.

I believe we can do better and I believe I can be a part of the solution.

We must begin by reducing the tax and fee burden on our citizens. I propose that we strengthen our economic base in a new way—by finding ways to make our own local businesses succeed and grow and by working to find new businesses with higher paying jobs that we can attract here. These would include high-tech and research positions that will utilize the local resources we have in communications and academics, as well as connected programs through Virginia Universities and out of State resources.

Our beloved City can be turned around in the right direction if we can set some reasonable priorities, but in May 2nd, we will come to that crossroad and we must make a choice.

If you believe Lynchburg is ready for a change, I urge you to vote for me in the May 2nd election for Lynchburg City Council. I thank you.

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