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10.01.2008 0

Virginia Republicans Kill Billion Dollar Tax Hikes

  • On: 10/15/2008 16:54:43
  • In: Taxes

  • In some good news, it appears that Virginia Republicans mustered the spine to defeat two Democrat proposals to raise taxes on Virginians by over $1 billion to pay for transportation projects.

    Although Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, had complained that House Republicans were not moving on his $1 billion tax and fee increase because “they’re afraid it would pass,” his proposal was finally defeated 98-0 when it came up for a vote. Perhaps, Governor Kaine, it was actually dead on arrival.

    The other plan was one that had already passed the Commonwealth’s Senate, a $1.1 billion tax and fee increase supported by Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax). This too was defeated, this time by 59-39.

    For the Republicans’ part they seem to at least be exploring the possibility of fiscal responsibility, according to the Washington Post:

    “The Republican-controlled House approved a proposal late Wednesday that calls for hundreds of millions from the general fund to be diverted to transportation needs in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, but the Democratic-controlled Senate quickly killed it in committee…

    “House Republicans oppose statewide tax increases, saying Virginians cannot afford to pay more during an economic downturn. Instead, they passed bills to find savings through an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation, use proceeds from possible future offshore oil and gas drilling for transportation and encourage public-private partnerships, in which companies would pay for some projects and in return could collect tolls.”

    Here’s another idea: cut wasteful spending. Spending like the $83.1 million that was spent recently on renovating the Virginia Capitol building.

    In the meantime, it appears that Virginia’s Department of Transportation is making due with the funds at its disposal:

    “Officials estimate that the state will face about a $3 billion shortfall over the next six years in the part of the budget used to maintain highways and bridges and that money devoted to new construction would instead have to be used for maintenance.”

    In other words, without raising any taxes at all, the Department of Transportation is meeting its duties.

    And that is certainly good news.

    ALG Perspective: The Republican-controlled House of Delegates has definitely dodged a bullet by defeating the Democrat tax increases that would have raised the tax and fee burden on all Virginians by over $1 billion. The truth is, most of the population of Virginia is concentrated in the Northern Virginia area anyway, and the Commonwealth could actually cut the tax burden statewide and allow counties and municipalities to take responsibility for maintaining the roads. Local problems can have local solutions, though that is a concept that appears to be antiquated for today’s brand of command-and-control politicians.

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