Special Session Coming . . .Feb 28, 2008
Before today, differences between the House and Senate budgets were vast, and rumors of a prolonged session similar to those of recent budget years seemed to be moving toward relality. Now it seems impossible to avoid.
Early today the state Supreme Court found unconstitutional regional transportation authorities created by the General Assembly last year. These RTAs were given broad powers to raise revenue (i.e. taxes and fees) to pay for transportation projects in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The G.A. created these RTAs despite the fact that anyone who can clearly read the state Constitution knew they were in complete violation of that document, and people of those areas had repeatedly rejected RTAs through referenda.
Now, the budget has a whole in it amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. No RTAs, no abuser fees, no General Fund money, etc. Bascially the transportation deal passed last year is in ruins.
Honestly, today's Supreme Court decision is exactly what the Generally Assembly deserved. They passed a bad law, everyone knew it, and now they're paying the price. Unfortunately, instead of actually cutting spending they will likely force Virginia's families to pay more in taxes. And that is the battle that will ensue over the next several weeks or months.