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Speak Out: Will McDonnell's Tax Plan Help Virginia?

Governor's five-year, $3.1 billion transportation overhaul aims to fund major road and infrastructure needs. Tell us: Do you think the governor's plan is a sustainable option for road maintenance and new projects?

Virginia residents could see a higher sales tax — and the state could become the first in the country to shed its gas tax — if a transportation plan unveiled by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell passes the state's General Assembly during its 2013 session.

The five-year, $3.1 billion transportation overhaul is the governor's attempt to address some of the state's major road and infrastructure needs in coming years; $14 billion in projects are already underway across Virginia.

McDonnell said the 17.5 cent tax on gasoline — which accounts for more than 30 percent of Virginia's transportation revenues — was "dated," blaming inflation and better mileage on the dollar for making it a stagnant funding source.

Raising sales tax from 5 to 5.8 percent, the other cornerstone of the governor's proposal, would generate more than $600 million in additional funds, he said, a pool that will grow with the economy.

McDonnell's changes would ultimately give transportation a larger share of sales tax revenues.

which the General Assembly will begin to review Wednesday as it begins its 2013 session.

The plan was McDonnell's attempt to appease both Republicans, many of whom have spoken against any kind of tax hike, and Democrats, who have said they don't want to give more general fund money to transportation over education and other state priorities.

Americans for Tax Reform has issued a statement against the governor's plan, saying the proposal "as it stands now fails in its goal to prioritize transportation spending while avoiding tax increases."

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who holds the tie-breaking vote in Virginia's split senate, backed the plan Tuesday.

Tell us: Do you think the governor's plan is a sustainable option for road maintenance and new projects? Which state priorities do you think deserve more or less funding?

Sandra January 11, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Shouldn't we be encouraging the use of alternative fuels and hybrids by taxing them less, rather than adding taxes onto those who own such vehicles???
Sandra January 11, 2013 at 04:11 AM
That assumes that lower income people are currently buying things they don't need, and can cut back on "luxury goods" if the sales tax is raised. In these times, I think a lot of lower income people are already stretched to the limit, so raising the sales tax will hit them in the pocketbook no matter what.
Huey January 15, 2013 at 07:23 AM
You know what, McDonnell should go for the full 6% like Maryland has. It would only go up 5 cents per $5, meaning instead of a $5 Subway sandwich costing 5.25, it would cost $5.30. Not bad, considering that same sandwich costs $5.45 in Arlington and Alexandria. They should also raise taxes on cigarettes. As far as the gas tax, if it's gone; it wouldn't make much of a difference. Take it away, but instead tax fuel guzzlers like Land Cruisers and Sequoias. We should never be taxed for fuel, but instead taxed for owning the cars that use up a lot of fuel. It makes more sense.
dawn auletta February 01, 2013 at 02:38 AM
True statements here: McDonnell’s plan would hit the poor, while letting the richest Virginian’s (not to mention any out of state drivers passing through) off largely scot-free “Eliminating the gas tax paid by highway users and raising taxes on all other Virginians to pave our roads makes no sense”, said State Sen. Chap Petersen (D). “Indeed, eliminating our traditional road funding because cars are more efficient makes about as much sense as canceling your child’s college fund because tuition keeps rising”.
dawn auletta February 01, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R-VA) transportation bill passed the House of Delegates Finance Committee, moving past its first hurdle in the state’s 2013 General Assembly session. In a 14-8 vote along party lines, the committee passed McDonnell’s package, which calls for eliminating the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and raising the state sales tax from 5% to 5.8%.

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