On a Richmond radio morning talk show today a Republican politician stated that those who oppose the transportation tax hike package are stuck to their “rigid ideology” and that, while there are aspects to the tax package he doesn’t like, it’s the product of “compromise,” so anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t understand the “realities” of the political process. It’s not an unfamiliar talking point. We’ve been hearing similar spin since the tax package passed the General Assembly a few weeks ago. The oft-repeated line is something like, “well, it’s a compromise, and it must be good because there’s something in it for everyone to dislike.”
As usual, it’s a talking point the media never challenges. So I will.
Now, we all know where Republicans who voted for the tax hike compromised. You know, that pesky ideology principle about keeping taxes low.
But here’s the question that wasn’t asked this morning on the radio, and I have yet to hear asked of any Republicans championing the tax hike: Exactly where did the liberals in Richmond compromise? What is it that they wanted that they didn’t get?
I suppose one could argue that liberals didn’t get the enormous increase in the gas tax they wanted because this plan does away with the gas tax. Except the plan simply transfers the tax to the wholesale side and has a built in increase that could potentially surpass cost of the the current tax. Oh, and they get a half dozen or so other tax and fee hikes for which they didn’t ask.
Perhaps one could argue that liberals didn’t get as much revenue as they wanted. Well, that has some merit, except that liberals never get as much revenue as they want because they have an insatiable appetite for our money. So this one says that the best response of defenders for what may become the largest tax hike in history is that liberals still didn’t get as much as they wanted? Nice try.
Oh, I know, it’s the inclusion of the dastardly “user fee” attached to hybrids. They’re really mad about that one.
Wait, I got it! There’s the use of all that General Fund money for transportation that liberals just hate, you know, “paving roads with school books and bed pans” and all that. Umm, except that is predicated on the very unlikely passage of the federal “Marketplace Equity Act.” If that doesn’t happen, the General Fund amount going to transportation is about what liberals offered in the first place – next to nothing.
Yup, it’s a compromise alright. The problem is, it’s a one sided compromise.
In this case, the liberals stuck to their “rigid ideology.” And won.