Norquist says Governor’s road plan violates taxpayer protection pledge

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.

  • Mike Barrett

    Nothing new here; Norquist will go to his grave calling for less taxes and more cuts. Of course, in Virginia, cuts have had their effect. Deplorable conditions of our roads, tunnels, bridges, and interstates, tuitions too high, K-12 cut over 12% since McDonnell took office, decline in assets for the State employee pensions and no pay raises for his four years in office. But to Norquist, all these matter not one wit; cut taxes is the answer to all problems. And for awhile, Virginians have expressed a preference for no taxes, but many voices are wondering, at what cost? Do we want safe and effective schoools? Do we want safe and effective transportation? Do we want only the rich to be able to afford our public colleges and universities? Do we want quality public employees with adequate pay and benefits? Norquist could care less.

  • shame

  • Somehow, this statement sounds awful shallow coming from the group that told us to light candles, turn on some smooth jazz, and breathe easy as we were about to be raped by HB 3202.

    • ATR is the most active major group in opposition to this plan. What’s shallow about it?

      • They pick and choose which tax hikes they oppose and support — that’s what. ATR lost me at HB 3202 back in 2007…

        • With all due respect, didn’t RPV support 3202 at the time?

          • The party did not — individual chairs took both sides.

  • Do we really care what Grover thinks?

  • Mike Barrett

    The real import of Norquist’s words is that he must be losing his grip on whatever power he had retained. For no matter how tepid, inequitable, incomplete, and harmful to the general fund the Governor’s proposal is, it certainly is a tax increase, and it certainly makes it clear that he realizes the damage the failure to maintain and sustain our transportation infrastructure had become, both physically in terms of the condition of our roads, bridges, tunnels, and interstates, but also politically as republicans are now being hammpered by outraged citizens from all parts of the Commonwealth. His bill could be improved upon if the parties could work together, and it could resolve this crucial issue for another decade, if both parties would in fact be bold. Let’s hope so.

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