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Thoughtful and Blinding: The Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Candidate Forum

I wasn’t quite prepared for the blindingly bright flood lights as I stepped onto the stage at Synetic Theater in Crystal City yesterday. Thankfully, the focus of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s forum was refreshingly on small business issues and economic development, which I was prepared for with concrete solutions to our problems, mentioning the usefulness of BizLaunch:

@TheoForARL on small business support: “@AEDBizLaunch has been a very effective program and deserves the resources to grow and expand to help our small businesses in the area.”

And continuing on: “Once a business is established, it faces its next challenge – just staying afloat. That’s where regulations, burdensome permits, and taxes come in. We need to eliminate the Business Tangible Personal Property Tax, which is a tax on every little asset the business owns – furniture, computers, point-of-sale, etc. This only brings in $40 million to our county coffers, though. The county sneezes and it spends $40 million. There’s no reason to have this tax.”

Missing Middle housing did of course come up, where I took the opportunity to warn what our future looks like if we don’t adopt those reforms, bringing up the severe crisis in affordability and homelessness that San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose are now facing.

The future of Langston Blvd closed out the forum where I expressed concerns that the latest Plan Langston Blvd (PLB) proposal has seemingly been scaled back and disappointment that the East Falls Church neighborhood has been dropped almost entirely from the study. Matt de Ferranti also expressed concern about East Falls Church’s omission, so there may be hope for getting it back into the PLB.

Unfortunately this candidate forum wasn’t recorded by the venue, and my attempt to record it from a camera on the sidelines turned into a blurry mess, but it was a well managed event with questions that were very thoughtful and gave opportunities to dive deep into actual policy and solutions – something that is rare in modern political debates.

Screenshot of the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum