Please click here to immediately contact Governor Bob McDonnell and urge him to keep his promise and veto the tax hike scheme! While running for Governor in 2009, Bob McDonnell made a promise to Virginians – he would not raise taxes while Governor. It was a clear distinction between him and his opponent, Creigh Deeds, who obfuscated so much on the issue he lost all credibility. Candidate McDonnell was firm. No tax hikes. In his first State of the Commonwealth address, he reiterated his commitment to keeping Virginia a low tax state, rejecting departing Governor Tim Kaine’s tax hike plan as an answer to Virginia’s economic struggles (29:44).
Now, the Governor has on his desk HB 2313, a bill that includes what has been called the largest tax increase in Virginia history! A tax increase that Tim Kaine yesterday championed on the floor of the U.S. Senate (see picture below)!
Now is the time for the Governor to fulfill his campaign promise, and it’s up to you to remind him that we remember his promise.
Unfortunately, too many in the media and even in the blogosphere continue to refer to this massive tax and spend scheme as a “transportation” bill when it, in fact, doesn’t direct all the new revenue to transportation. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Not all of the 0.3 percent increase in sales tax goes to transportation. Part of the overall revenue generated by the increased tax would go toward an increase in education funding and other general fund priorities.” The fact is that outside of a Constitutional Amendment, how Virginia spends your tax dollars can be changed every year through the budget and budget amendments. This plan is no different.
It’s important to remember that, as the tax and spend scheme was being passed, the state Senate rejected a Constitutional Amendment that would have ensured that money directed to the Transportation Trust Fund could not be raided for other government programs, something the General Assembly has been doing for years, which has helped create the current transportation “crisis.”
A promise by Republicans to direct more of the General Fund to transportation hinges in HB 2313 on the extremely unlikely passage of the federal “Marketplace Equity Act” that allows higher taxes on the Internet. Without that, not only do fewer General Fund dollars go to transportation, but the wholesale gas tax increase already in the bill nearly doubles!
The more everyone learns about the bill, the less they like. It is a shell game of higher taxes and higher spending. Some are arguing that provisions in the bill that raise taxes only in NOVA and Hampton Roads are unconstitutional, and that even the process by which the bill was adopted violates constitutional provisions!
There is absolutely no question that the General Assembly needs to adopt a solution to our transportation needs, which is why we supported Senator Steve Newman’s transportation plan. Because of the exponential growth of the federal government and its mandates on state spending, fewer and fewer dollars are available for core functions of government, such as transportation. No one is arguing that there are simple solutions. But the plan passed by the General Assembly places even more financial burden on already struggling families and small businesses in the face of even more national fiscal uncertainty and flies in the face of the basic principles of fiscal conservatism.
ACTION: Please click the link below to immediately contact Governor Bob McDonnell and urge him to keep his promise and veto the tax hike scheme!