A few transportation bills met their fate in the Senate Finance committee on Thursday, including that of Gov. McDonnell. His transportation funding plan passed the committee on a 10-5 party line vote. The vote generated the requisite press release from the Governor’s office, which stated, in part:
“Today’s action is another major step forward in our effort to enact a long overdue, long-term transportation funding solution. I now urge the full House of Delegates and Senate to pass this bill and keep Virginia moving.”
I’m sure that if the deal is good enough, it will pass. But keep an eye on the Senate’s redistricting measure, which the House has held over for consideration until Wednesday. That’s the ultimate bargaining chip.
A transportation bill that met a less hopeful end was the regional tax referendum measure put forward by Sen. Jeff McWaters. It failed to pass the committee 5-7, with bipartisan opposition.
A bill requiring the General Assembly’s approval before tolls could be imposed on the interstates easily passed the committee. This would tend to weaken the McDonnell administrations offer to drop the idea of tolls entirely if the Administration’s transportation plan wins General Assembly approval.
And for those residents of Portsmouth, the Finance committee approved a bill giving your local officials the power to levy an income tax that would not first require a voter referendum, nor would sunset after five years, both of which are mandated under existing law. Any revenues would have to be used for transportation. The vote was 8-5. For the curious, a list of other Virginia localities that can impose such income taxes can be found in the impact statement. But if you’re unable to open the file, here’s the relevant section:
Currently, the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach are authorized to levy a local income tax upon the Virginia taxable income of individuals, fiduciaries of estates or trusts, and corporations that have income from sources within such county or city. The local income tax may be imposed at a rate of 0.25 percent, 0.50 percent, 0.75 percent, or 1.0 percent. Within a county or city that imposes the local income tax, the same rate must apply to individuals, fiduciaries of estates or trusts, and corporations.