The General Assembly was back yesterday for its one day "veto session" (click here to contact your delegate or here to contact your senator). They reviewed and responded to amendments to bills, particularly the budget, made by Governor Tim Kaine (click here to contact him). On Tuesday, we distributed a press release (click here to read) urging the General Assembly to reject proposed increases in gas or sales taxes, or other schemes that would burden Virginia's taxpayers. Unfortunately, the governor said on his monthly "Ask The Governor" radio call-in show on Richmond station WRVA-AM this morning, that he is poised to call a special session for sometime in June to deal with transportation issues. Tax increases will be proposed and pushed, maybe even rammed down legislators' throats. Senate Majority Leader Dick ("There will never be enough money in the budget") Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) is back at it with his witticisms, saying in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "We've been searching for the last 20 years to find a contractor willing to lay asphalt for free. We haven't found one yet."

Translation: Don't just hold on to your wallets. Add extra security to your bank accounts. The unapologetic tax-raising senator tried to pass a one-cent-a-year-for-five-years gas tax increase this past session. He argued that gas taxes don't affect the price at the pump and that no one will notice it anyway, so why not sock the tax payers?

Which made me think this: If it doesn't affect the price, senator, and no one will notice, why phase it in over five years? Why make the gas retailers go through the hassle of yearly adjustments? Just add it all at once. In fact, why stop at five cents? Clearly, his idea for a phase-in reveals his deception. More proof a tax is coming: Even the governor said he wants something "statewide, simple, sufficient." If that isn't code for gas tax increase, what is?

Can anyone think of a worse time in the Commonwealth's history to raise taxes on Virginia's working families than when they are already struggling to make ends meet in a sluggish economy? When a gallon of gas already costs more than $3.50 and is rising?

Adding additional tax burdens to these families while they are already having a hard time filling the car with gas, paying the mortgage or just taking care of daily necessities is reckless and dangerous. The General Assembly has failed to control its spending habits for two decades and has put our Commonwealth in this position. Asking working families to bail them out is arrogant and foolish.

A tax hike scheme, whether statewide, regional, renamed or repackaged is still a tax hike and will hurt our families and our economy.

Difficult times call for strong leadership and wise decision making. Simply passing the burden onto the taxpayers because some elected officials lack the courage to slow the rate of spending will make matters yet worse (as we saw in the passage of the patently obvious unconstitutional taxation-without-representation regional transportation authorities). Whether they like it or not, our legislators are going to have to reduce spending or face a continuing economic crisis. We simply cannot continue to fund the rate of growth they seek without damaging the economic well being of working families.