Rigell’s efforts to try and streamline government red tape is a worthy endeavor. Sometimes government rules and regulations, be they federal, state or local, just don’t make sense or are in place to protect the interests of already entrenched business interests. Requiring licensing of hair braiders is a classic example of “rent seeking” rather than the free market advancing consumer options.
In the Accomack County case what we see is the ”dog-whistle” of government red tape and interference in local job creation when in my opinion this is more properly a case of one party wanting to break a contract that they freely engaged.
As I understand it the property in question was a gift from a federal agency to the local authorities a few decades ago. It truly was a gift in that it was freely given to local authorities at no out of pocket cost to them. There was a proviso though that the property could only be used for recreational purposes and not commercial development.
Perhaps part of that reasoning was to prevent rampant development from encroaching upon the area around the Wallops Island launching facilities which could lead to the same sort of problems that NAS Oceana experiences and taxpayers have been stuck with paying millions of dollars to try and correct.
Apparently the property was not used for much and was somewhat forgotten about until recently.
With all the buzz of trying to increase private commercial activity in launching “stuff” into space there is interest in increasing the importance of the existing Wallops Island launch facilites as a major hub of orbital flight activities.
Along with an increase in those activities, of course, comes the need for development of commercial and residential property.
Thus the newfound interest in the property that was a gift from the federal government decades ago. However, the existing deed prevents the use of that property for any sort of commercial/residential use.
Given the fiscal problems of our federal government one would think that if the federal government has assets that are no longer considered “mission critical” and are desired for private use then the prudent course would be to offer that property for sale.
Makes sense to me and I am sure that makes sense to most people including most of the fine folks in VA-02.
So it seemed sensible and proper to me that the federal agency involved told the local officials that essentially “Well we gave you a piece of property many decades ago that you have essentially ignored but now that there is interest in private commercial development then in order for us to remove the deed restrictions you agreed to at that time we would be interested in selling that property and allow such development”.
In a sensible world, where developers buy property all the time, this should have been a similar situation and not have created any kind of kerfuffle. What makes this case different, of course, is that private businesses routinely look to get freebies, or subsidies from all levels of government (federal/state/local) and elected officials are almost always quickly ready to oblige in the ongoing game of corporate welfare.
Rep. Rigell, who on one hand decries the federal debt/deficit and government intrusion in our lives, was quick to use his power to intervene in what should have been a routine commercial transaction. Everyone wants something for nothing and our federal budget problems are the direct result of decades of that sort of thinking - give the people what they want but we’ll worry about them actually paying for later.
Rep. Rigell ran for office on the platform that he would be serious in addressing these fiscal problems. Yet, in this case, he has shown himself to be just another politican handing out welfare “free money”.
The efforts to try and develop the Wallops Island area as a space port are laudable. The efforts of Rep. Rigell and local officials to hand out corporate welfare are not.
Rep. Rigell’s Press Release: Rigell’s Jobs Bill Passes House of Representatives with Bipartisan Support