As the list of association endorsers for Gov. McDonnell’s transportation plan grows longer, the “anti” side has gained some support: Grover Norquist has, officially, called it a violation of his group’s taxpayer protection pledge. From the press release:
“In a state controlled by Republicans, this is the absolute wrong approach on a path to sustainable transportation spending. When legislators demand higher taxes in exchange for prioritizing transportation costs, they are demonstrating that transportation is their lowest budget priority,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.
“Virginians have rejected this kind of approach before. When voters were asked in 2002 whether they thought that transportation should be paid for with existing state revenue or with higher taxes, they overwhelming rejected Gov. Warner’s call for higher taxes. Virginia does not have a revenue problem. It has a problem prioritizing spending.”
There’s also an exceedingly long cartoon illustrating just how awful ATR believes the plan to be. The curious can find that graphic here.
Whether any of this makes a difference in the debate over the Governor’s plan is an open question. Some will recall that ATR thundered against the 2004 sales tax increase, going so far as to issue “Virginia’s Least Wanted” posters, which featured pictures of Republican General Assembly members who voted to approve that tax hike. Neither the posters nor the threat to take out the tax hikers proved effective.
Also not mentioned in this release are the infamous regional taxing authorities, brokered under the eager hand of then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell as the way to fix Virginia’s roads for good. While it was later declared unconstitutional, ATR managed to give the bill its blessing back in 2007.