By E.W. Jackson, candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia
At a time when our economy is anemic at best Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly have passed HB 2313 which is perhaps the largest tax hike in Virginia history.
The Transportation funding plan which is part of this bill, was first sold as a shift from the static gasoline tax to a broader and “fairer” sales taxes. A tax by any other name is still the same. Whenever legislators start talking about fairness in taxation, hold on to your wallets. It is still a net increase of taxes, fees and even creates additional regional taxes.
Worse than the tax increases is the creation of transportation authorities that are “independent of any state or local entity, including the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).” Therefore, to the insult of tax increases, we are slapped with the injury of regional taxing authorities run by unelected officials. The people of Virginia said no to that bad idea years ago.
I will never understand how Republicans convinced themselves to vote for this boondoggle. Why they think tax payers will let them get away with it is yet another mystery. Democrats, as usual, have been allowed to finagle their way into the driver’s seat. They threatened to vote against the transportation bill unless Republicans went along with Medicaid Expansion that adds 300,000 to the Medicaid rolls with the federal government only paying part of the bill.
The icing on the cake of this orgy of taxing and spending is HB1769 which facilitates implementation of Obamacare by establishing “health benefit exchanges.” This gives us a legislative trifecta, a triple loss for the citizens of Virginia. With the help of Republicans, big government, higher taxes, and tax and spend liberals won the Triple Crown.
Conservative Republicans, Tea Party activists and many independents all over the Commonwealth are disappointed and angry. They expected a Republican Governor, House Majority and a Republican controlled Senate would prevent this kind of fiscal profligacy. Sadly, what we have here is a lack of bold, conservative leadership.
The Speaker is said to have encouraged Republican House members by telling them that no one has lost re-election after voting for bills like this. It is politically foolish to take comfort in such reassurances. At some point, the patience of the electorate does run out. With the Obama administration strangling our freedom for four years and showing no signs of relenting, state elected officials who comply rather than defy will likely pay a very heavy price. If I were a wagering man, I would place my bet on the people rising up rather than politicians skating by.
E.W. Jackson, founder of S.T.A.N.D., is a resident of Chesapeake who served in the United States Marine Corps, graduated from Harvard Law School and studied at Harvard Divinity School.