Eight Questions For A DollarDec 08, 2007
Aside from the disrespectful nature of Sen. Norment's on-air outburst toward one of Virginia's best know radio newsmen, serious philosophical questions remain. The outburst was only a spotlight on a government arrogance that's permeated all levels and all branches for years, a product of a leviathan state. When entities get too big, they take on a life of their own, and have a way of steamrolling things in the way of its interests; the people being the things and control being its interests. This particular case isn't totally aimed at Senator Norment, because Governor Tim Kaine and Speaker of the House Bill Howell also think the $1 license plate fee should be kept for their own pet ideas. So, here are the questions:
1. If not this small fee and this one-time project, what government fee or dedicated tax will ever be repealed — or even reduced? (Think not finishing off the car tax is a promise not kept? Virginia's BPOL tax was created to finance the War of 1812 — and we still have that.)
2. What government project, if not a one-time event, will ever be dismantled — or even scaled back?
3. What is the value of a pledge or promise by a governing body, whether stated or greatly implied?
4. Is the public's distaste and distrust of government engendered by violating the principle of this case (reneging on the sunset of a fee which has done its job) worth $1.00?
5. If, as Sen. Norment stated, the $1.00 fee helps promote Virginia tourism, generates economic activity and creates further tax revenue, then why not raise it to $5.00 — or $10.00, or $20.00? If the rationale is redistributed money increases economic activity, then certainly a higher fee will create even greater economic growth.
6. Senator Norment said all the sales and occupancy taxes from tourism, generated by fees such as the dollar fee, help all of us. What type of labyrinth economic thought is this? Tax the people on one thing to generate taxes on other things that the people must also pay, all of which the government keeps? What is the difference between this thought and total wage confiscation?
7. If, Senator Norment, you think that's a silly question, then the flip question is: If you are right, and the dollar creates so much economic activity that it has brought in more revenue from sales and occupancy taxes, then why can't the government afford to rebate the fee with this tax windfall?
Finally, do senators and delegates have to pay a fee for their fancy, personalized license plates?