McDonnell breaks two promises to conservatives in the same day

While Bearing Drift generally appreciates the leadership of Gov. Bob McDonnell, yesterday certainly strained that perception.

McDonnell capitulated to the extreme left on Sen. Jill Vogel’s very sound bill to give women the opportunity to see a sonogram (a sonogram that is likely to be performed anyway, according to Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation).

To put this into perspective, following McDonnell’s decision, the hysterical left went from complaining about “transvaginal” ultrasounds to “transabdominal” ultrasounds.


Proving, once again, there is no pleasing the left on their holy grail issue: abortion. McDonnell needed to stick to his guns and support the General Assembly and folks like us on Bearing Drift who have been out here daily fighting for the rights of those who cannot protect themselves.

By the way, where was RPV in all this?

But what almost got lost in yesterday’s fiasco brought on by the governor, is this little bit of news:

The House of Delegates Finance Committee approved amendments today authorizing the state to require an out-of-state seller, with distribution facilities or other related entities in the state, to collect sales taxes on the sale of goods to in-state purchasers, without regard to the location of the seller, on September 1, 2013, or on or before January 1, 2014 if federal legislation is enacted, to level the playing field for all sellers with a later effective date. Thus, this agreement negotiated with Amazon requires certain online retailers to collect the sales and use tax in the same manner as a bricks and mortar retailer. The tax an online retailer will now begin to collect will relieve Virginians of their current obligation to self-report consumer use tax on their tax return. This new law simply requires collection of the existing tax at the point of sale.

So, seriously, how many people self-report the sales tax on their income tax form?

Reading the press release, everyone seemed to put on a good show – Amazon, Sen. Frank Wagner, Virginia retailers, the governor – all were pleased with the arrangement.

“We were very happy to announce in December that Amazon would be opening two fulfillment centers in Virginia, investing a total of $135 million and creating more than 1,350 jobs. This is great news and we look forward to the growing partnership between Amazon and the state in the years ahead. At the same time, we also continue to work towards keeping Virginia the best place in America to do business. The amendments made today to SB597 will bring sound economic policy to Virginia and addresses the concerns of all interested parties. It is also proof that, by working together, we can find solutions that ensure that businesses, whether it’s traditional retailers or online companies, continue to be able to grow and thrive in the Commonwealth. I thank every stakeholder in this issue for their time, diligence, and collaboration to ensure that our business policies in Virginia continue to be fair and sound. This bill helps to ensure that online retailers with a physical presence in Virginia are treated the same as traditional brick and mortar retailers who are already required to collect and remit existing sales taxes on goods sold in the Commonwealth,” said McDonnell.

Amazon’s Vice President of Global Policy, Paul Misener, added, “Amazon is very grateful to Governor McDonnell for his focus on Virginia jobs and for his efforts to work with other governors toward national resolution of the sales tax issue this year.”

Senator Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), patron of SB597, stated, “As Black Friday and Cyber Monday have shown in recent years, the internet retail sector is a fully developed and thriving member of the community of retail merchants. I’m glad to have sponsored this legislation that provides a level playing field for both brick and mortar retailers as well as those on the internet. I’m also glad that all parties came to the table to help move forward this important legislation.”

Rob Shinn with the Virginia Alliance for Main Street Fairness representing a coalition of hundreds of Virginia retailers noted, “We are extremely pleased with the agreement. Today’s announcement is a significant step toward tax fairness for the retail community by ensuring the same rules apply to all retailers doing business in Virginia.”

Once again, intellectual dishonesty from conservatives. How can you say with a straight face that this will not raise taxes on consumers?

When I hear the words like “fairness” and “level playing field” coming from politicians, there’s usually a D after their name.

No sense in debating the merits of the bill because it looks like the train has already left the station – although it does rely still on federal action. Yet, the governor need not worry – if politicians, especially at the federal level, can secure a new revenue stream, they’ll take it.

I’m just disappointed that a governor who was elected on not raising taxes and protecting the unborn has, on the same day, broken both promises.

George Allen lost in 2006 because he was focusing on 2008 – not because of some manufactured web controversy. I hope McDonnell is not falling into the same trap.