Why All The Fuss? Here's The Easy Transportation SolutionApr 28, 2008
We're quite distressed the G.A., the Guvna, the transportation bureaucracy, the N.Va. developers and other special interests have gotten their knickers in a twist the last few years over the impending doom the Old Dominion's woeful road situation is soon to pour down on us. Seems they're all in a spot of bother over this Armageddon. What's the fuss? We have a simple answer.
We need money, right? Lots of it. That's the only way to fix our transportation problems, or so we're told. One side persistently wants to raise taxes. Another side says no (sometimes, kinda). Still others have made noise about legalizing new types of gambling and throwing that "voluntary tax" revenue to solve our transportation problems. Rumors floating around Capitol Square today are that this third group will hit the coming special session with more momentum.
Why go through all of that hassle? We already have mechanism in place. It just needs a bit of fine tuning.
The lottery was passed on the philosophy that it was a voluntary tax — only those who wanted to pay for it would pay it. (Actually, there's a space on your Virginia Income Tax form to pay extra taxes voluntarily, but those preaching the need for more state taxes never lead by example.) So we have a lottery. Problem is, its revenues are limited to education funding.
Here's the simple answer:
Double the cost on all lottery tickets. Amend the law so that 50 percent of all lottery revenue goes to transportation. Problem solved. Education money is not touched. Transportation gets its new revenue stream. Taxes are not raised but on those who wish to pay them. Say what? Higher prices may discourage people from buying lottery tickets? Or create an unfair burden? But somehow tax increases on necessities do not increase prices or are not burdensome?
Bingo! (Speaking of the devil, that's another option.)