Three Press Releases on McDonnell’s Transportation BillPolitics

First hat tip goes to Americans For Prosperity Virginia.  From the press release:

We support making sure that the funds collected for roads are only used for transportation needs, not other pet projects. Additionally, we will oppose attempts to adjust the gas tax to inflation as proposed in the Senate. We look to support a plan that is revenue neutral and creates a steady stream of revenue to fix our ailing transportation infrastructure.

We commend Governor McDonnell for proposing to end the gas tax and for his past work to audit the VDOT and prioritizing transportation for existing funds. However, we oppose raising registration fees for cars and trucks and oppose the sales tax bump in lieu of the gas tax as this will result in increased revenues. Any transportation funding reforms should be revenue neutral.

A generalized statement, but as it ought to be — with clear guideposts for what AFP will and will not support.  Key words: “revenue neutral” right there.

On the other hand, Pat Mullins goes out of his way to praise the transportation deal:

Transportation is an issue that Virginians have been dealing with for more than a decade now. The system our Commonwealth has in place right now is quite simply inadequate. The plan Governor McDonnell has put forward recognizes and corrects that fact.

At the same time, it removes a regressive tax on a commodity that the vast majority of Virginians must purchase. The Governor’s plan is bold and innovative, and based in the common-sense conservative principle that higher revenues should flow from a growing economy, not higher tax rates.

This plan fixes the maintenance deficit, removes a regressive tax, and puts transportation funding on an upward trajectory based on economic growth, not raising taxes. I look forward to working with Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly to see this vision enacted into law.

…even though the plan does indeed raise taxes… 

In contrast, Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson hit out with this press release almost simultaneously with the RPV release:

I applaud the Governor’s recommendation to eliminate the gasoline tax in favor of a much more broad based and equitable form of taxation. I am also gratified to see that the ‘transportation lock box’ is finally back on the table. Such reforms are precisely the sort Virginia needs as we move into the 21st century.

This having been said, I have several deep and serious reservations about the inclusion of an internet sales tax, something that would harm working families and effectively sunset one regressive tax while giving rise to another. The pending federal authorization — which is by no means guaranteed to pass Congress — would effectively harm Virginia’s economic recovery while providing little recourse to small businesses struggling to compete with online firms.

I look forward to the conversation about how Virginia can best recover the $500 million identified in waste by the Governor’s office during the beginning of his term, and look for additional ways to fix Virginia’s transportation problems without further punishing already cash-strapped Virginia taxpayers.

Very well stated, sir… very well stated indeed.  The reliance on the internet sales tax is the poison pill in the transportation fix — among other lesser barbs and stingers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelj.barrett.355 Michael J Barrett

    Regretfully, the deficiencies of this proposal are much greater than just
    adding gas which would help raise funds, but not close to what is required to
    reverse the precipitious decline in the condition of our transportation.

    Remember the Governor’s plan is so tepid and insufficient it does not purport
    to even cover major projects which are crucial to our economic future. In
    Hampton Roads, we would then be stuck with additional added sales taxes and
    punishing tolls on all major projects.

    Worse, the Governor’s proposal takes more money from the general fund and
    dedicates it to transportation. This is not new money, and it decreases the
    funds needed for education, public safety, courts and justice, and human
    services, areas that fall more and more on our local governments to funds
    because the Commonwealth refuses to do so.

    Just because those Delegates and Senators who signed the no tax pledge are
    simply scared stiff to actually admit the billions of dollars of deferred and
    unfunded maintenace and repair, we are stuck with a proposal that hardly makes a
    dent in what is required to make our roads, bridges, and tunnels safe and
    capable of supporting our economy.

    Virginians of both political parties are just beginning to understand the
    depth and breadth of the crisis we face. That is why this issue must be
    addressed headon with a full realization of what we must do. Better not to pass
    a bill that offers only the illusion of progress; instead elect new Delegates
    and Senators.