Attorney General rains on the transportation parade

rain-on-roadCall it the General’s smack down of the General Assembly.

The “Medicaid for Transportation” deal that was brokered between the House of Delegates and the State Senate to ensure Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $6 billion tax increase could be foisted on Virginia taxpayers is, in a word, unconstitutional. At least according to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The Office of the Attorney General has provided their official legal opinion and has stated that…

1) Regional taxation is a non-starter and
2) A subcommittee to determine Medicaid expansion is an abdication of the General Assembly’s responsibilities.

Since it’s baseball season, I guess we’re getting “Two for the price of one.”

To be specific…

HB 2313’s imposition of taxes in the specific localities constitutes a local law related to taxation prohibited by Article IV, § 14(5) of the Virginia Constitution. Further, because the taxes were imposed directly by the General Assembly, the taxes cannot be saved by the provisions of Article VII, § 2, even if they had obtained the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.

and, with respect to Medicaid…

[T]he General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budgetary or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of the members of the General Assembly.

Ouch.

Now, this is just the AG’s opinion. But that’s awfully good standing if you want to bring a lawsuit. And, considering Governor McDonnell’s record on transportation constitutionality, probably not somewhere he wants to go.