02.25.2013 0

Republicans raise taxes in Virginia in return for… expanding Medicaid?

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnellBy Robert Romano — In a move that likely makes grassroots conservatives and tea party members wonder why to bother voting Republican at all, the Virginia General Assembly has approved a budget with little opposition that implements a 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax,  that will rise every year with inflation, and an increase in the sales tax from 5 to 5.3 percent.

The bill also allows Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads sales taxes to increase 1 percent without a referendum or sunset date, reports BeforeItsNews.com.

All of which is to fund a $3.1 billion increase of the transportation budget. Virginia tea party leader Mark Lloyd told his Facebook followers it was “the biggest tax hike in Virginia history,” and blasted the 8 Virginia Senate Republicans who had gone along with it.

But those apostates were not enough as 12 Senate Republicans opposed the measure, which Lloyd praised. To get the votes, enough Senate Democrats needed to vote to pass the measure, too, so Republicans agreed to dramatically expand Medicaid under the Obamacare statute.

According to a Kaiser study, that will mean more than 372,000 Medicaid enrollees in Virginia by 2019, costing $10 billion, including the Commonwealth’s $500 million share of the cost. That’s almost half a million more government dependents in one of the most pivotal presidential electoral states in the Union.

The budget appropriates the money to fund the expansion, but leaves final approval for the expansion up to a 10-member committee of legislators, raising constitutional concerns from Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.

In an advisory opinion, he wrote, “It is my opinion that the General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budget or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of members of the General Assembly.”

A quadruple insult to the tea party: 1) a tremendous tax increase to fund a 2) huge spending increase bought for with the 3) implementation of Obamacare in Virginia in a manner that 4) unconstitutionally outsources Medicaid expansion to a supercommittee.

And these are the Republicans. If one did not know the details of which state, the average voter would assume such a political program would only ever be moved by Democrats.

But this is the quisling direction of the Republican Party post-2012 to accommodate the unceasing expansion of government. And not just in Virginia.

Republican governors in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Arizona are all collaborating with Obama’s plan to expand those who are dependent upon Medicaid. Who knows what tax increases or other boondoggles will be used to peel off just enough Democrat votes to pass the expansions in these respective states.

Similar tactics have recently been used in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to pass a tax increase on those making $400,000 and above, with a small number of Republicans and a majority of Democrats. And to pass an unpaid-for $50 billion of hurricane disaster relief.

Republicans will say they are governing. Yes, they are. They are governing — like Democrats. Leaving those who voted for lower taxes and less spending without any representation in elected government.

With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats? Of course, the likely political consequence of disenfranchising the conservative base of the Republican Party will be to leave voters asking the more salient question, which is: Who needs Republicans?

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Edit: An earlier version of this article cited a 22.5 cents per gallon gasoline tax, but that was not the final version that passed. That was an earlier Virginia Senate proposal. The final bill replaced the 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax. The local sales tax increase allowance specifically is occurring in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. And the original article also misstated Republican support for the budget in the Senate at 25 in favor, 15 opposed, which was the overall Senate vote, both parties. The correct breakdown was 8 Republicans in favor, 12 opposed.

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