Oink Oink. It could not be more clear:
The General Assembly, and, by extension, state agencies, may not, make grants that are tantamount to gifts of taxpayer dollars to charitable institutions devoted to land conservation (http://www.tax.virginia.gov/laws-rules-decisions/attorney-generals-opinion/11-089).
Senator Richard Black’s website charges; “The General Assembly has begun hiding taxes and fees in the biennial budget. This is dishonest and must not continue.” Agreed!
Folks that know Dick Black are up in arms over his current “Dear Constituent” letter publicizing that he is working for funds (hundreds of thousands of dollars) for the Waterford Foundation, via a “budget item”. Dick Black, a purported property rights and liberty advocate is part of the reason constituents are fed up with political flip-flopping.
The Waterford Foundation benefits extensively as a non-profit and does not pay real estate taxes on numerous buildings under the VA Code, § 58.1-3607. This exemption is dubious at best. The Virginia Constitution forbids the General Assembly from making “any appropriation of public funds, personal property, or real estate . . . to any charitable institution which is not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth.” The purpose of Article IV, § 16, as its plain language indicates, is “to prohibit the appropriation of public funds . . . for charitable purposes.”
The Waterford Foundation, Inc., states their mission is to “preserve the historic buildings and the open spaces of the National Historic Landmark of Waterford, Virginia”.
Yet, they also:
- operate a concert business,
- operate a wedding business,
- operate an event business,
- hold various fair-type consignment events,
- sell tickets for home and garden tours,
- rent out buildings,
- are involved in an Internet service business,
- and have bought, subdivided and sold off numerous building lots throughout Waterford.
Taxpayers should know how significant pork is buried in the budget and is Dick Black’s proposed “gift” even lawful?
(more to come…)