Marshall on HB 6055

(forwarded by Delegate Bob Marshall — reprinted with permission)

Can Virginia fix transportation without raising taxes? Yes, but unless you contact House of Delegates members before July 9 you may be facing higher taxes and fees, not just from Democrats who want higher auto, sales, real property and gas taxes, but from Republicans too!

Tax/fee increases are in the Republican Transportation Bill, H.B. 6055 pushed by Republican Speaker Bill Howell.

The bill authorizes Northern Virginia counties and cities to increase the sales tax on home and commercial property sales (grantor’s tax) of an additional $0.40 cents per $100 of the sale price. Last year the Assembly authorized No VA localities to impose an additional tax on commercial real estate of $0.25 per $100 for roads and transit.

This tax can never be rescinded by the local governments as long as there is any outstanding debt for Northern Virginia projects funded by this tax!

While HB 6055 provides that funds raised in No. VA are to be spent only for No VA transportation projects, it may be diverted to other uses and areas of Virginia “as may be required by any other law.” HB 6055 also adds $100 to the cost of a new driver’s license.

Hampton Roads residents will pay $20 more for a registration fee and $20 more for inspection fees. HB 6055 authorizes a real estate tax increase on all property of $0.10 cents per $100. It diverts up to $250 million in yet to be collected taxes from business and individuals in the cargo container business to Hampton Roads transportation projects.

With Virginia families facing falling home prices, increased real property taxes, skyrocketing gas and food prices, an 18% electric rate hike for Dominion, a 6.4% monthly increase in natural gas prices, almost five decades of federal deficit spending, and a devalued dollar, the General Assembly should not raise taxes and fees.

If we say yes to a tax increase again, what happens when the next “crisis” happens a few years from now? Enough is enough. Taxpayers are not bottomless ATM machines.

Rather than raise taxes, the legislature should support changing work schedules, use toll and fare supported transportation bonds, set up bio-fuel capture centers in Virginia, make state government more efficient and spend the savings on roads and transit.

Here are some practical non-tax transportation proposals:

HJR 6007: Lock up the Transportation Trust Fund so transportation dollars are not diverted for other means. More than $1.2 Billion has been diverted has been diverted to non-transportation uses over the last 18 years. This must stop.

HB 6030: Fund major transportation projects using bonds paid by tolls or rider fares, i.e., Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel expansion, I-81 truck improvements (trucks pay tolls), Tri-County –Prince William-Fairfax-Loudoun– Connector, expand commuter rail in No VA to Haymarket, buy more Metro Subway rail cars, etc.

HB 6049: Allow naming rights in exchange for corporations and individuals paying for building roads and other transportation projects, just as is done for stadiums and school buildings.

Implement the 2002 Wilder Commission efficiency recommendations that were projected to currently save $1.1 Billion annually without reducing services.

Allocate a greater portion of state revenue to transportation. Out of a 2-year budget of roughly $79 Billion, surely a greater percent could be allocated for transportation.

HB 6031: Require all tractor trailers (VA and out of state) to pay for a per mile road maintenance and damage charge which is now passed on to other Virginia drivers.

HB 6032: Set up a permanent state oversight Commission, similar to the federal cost cutting BRAC Commission, to evaluate whether state holdings should be sold, identify duplicate programs, and cut unnecessary overhead while maintaining the same level of services.

HJR 6011: Stop burning food! Request a waiver from the federal ethanol mandate. Ethanol results in less miles per gallon and increases food prices from diversion of food to fuel. (Speaker Bill Howell publically announced I would have all of 30 seconds—literally–to present this measure to his Rules Committee!)

HJR 6008: Assess methane resources now being wasted in Virginia which could be converted to fuel for cars/trucks.

Unfortunately, despite Rule 37 of the House of Delegates which provides that: “The Clerk shall, under the direction of the Speaker, refer all such original papers (i.e. bills) to the proper committee…” Nearly all bills introduced into the special session that would reduce expenses and use the money saved for roads and transit have been referred to the House Rules Committee, Chaired by Speaker Bill Howell, so he can kill them.

See http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?083+com+H20N01 for all bills referred to the House Rules committee for the special transportation session. For Delegate Marshall’s bills see http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?083+mbr+H57C.

To find out how to contact your state delegate and senator (or learn who they are) go to:
http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform

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