In an earlier post, I noted a line from the Conservative Caucus press conference where Sen. Mark Obenshain was quoted by Capital News Service reporter Mark Robinson as saying “…he wasn’t opposed to raising taxes to fund transportation, as long as the burden would be shared by both Virginians and people from out-of-state.”
It was a stunning remark, and I was certain it would gain notice. It did: from Sen. Obenshain. He has released the following statement:
“A recent article falsely stated, without attribution, that I was “not opposed” to tax increases. This is categorically false, and it is important to correct the record. Throughout my career in the Senate, I’ve stood firmly against tax hikes, even when some members of my own party brought pressure to bear. I’ve voted against budgets because they were fiscally imprudent, and I’ve always voted to reject raising taxes. That has not changed.
“We have to find ways to put more resources into transportation, but that’s a matter of prioritizing transportation spending within the existing budget, not raising taxes. This year, I’m introducing legislation to devote the bulk of any future state surplus to transportation and I’ve long supported measures to increase the proportion of existing state revenue dedicated to transportation. I support increasing our allocations to the Transportation Trust Fund, and I’m once again carrying the Lockbox Amendment to protect that trust fund against raids, but let me be clear: I oppose raising taxes. Always have.”
Well okay then.
I think the source of the problem can be found by looking at this video of the Conservative Caucus presser, which took a while to find. Fast forward to around the 20 minute mark, and you will hear Sen. Obenshain discuss the Governor’s transportation plan and his concerns with it:
No, Mark does not call for a tax increase. He does say that the current proposal would put a higher burden on Virginians than out-of-state drivers. So where does the quote come from? In part from a possibly garbled interpretation of the arguments Del. Jimmie Massie made beginning around the 25 minute mark. In brief, Massie says conservatives aren’t opposed to greater government revenues — as a result of economic growth, which is spurred by low tax rates. They are against higher marginal tax rates.
Are we all clear now?