Monday, February 4, 2013

A Positive Proposal on Transportation

Victoria Cobb, President
The Family Foundation of Virginia

Much of the discussion and attention of session thus far has been surrounding how to fund transportation.  Governor Bob McDonnell initiated the discussion with a bold plan to eliminate the archaic gas tax and replace gas tax revenue with numerous other tax and fee changes. 
Today, state Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Lynchburg) introduced a plan that would replace the gas tax with a sales tax of 5.5 percent on gas, but keep the state sales tax at 5 percent.  This proposal is a very positive development in the debate surrounding how to fund transportation. 
To this point, we have been monitoring the various proposals and debates in committee, knowing that the initial offers from Governor McDonnell and others would not be the final package.  Unfortunately, liberals in Richmond have their own plans – and they include massive tax hikes in the billions of dollars that would cripple our economy and rip money from our families during some of the most challenging economic times we’ve ever faced.
Senator Newman’s plan offers legislators an opportunity to address the needs of transportation – and there are needs – without increasing the tax burden on Virginia families.  There is no doubt that the General Assembly has an opportunity this year to address an issue that has been challenging our elected officials for years.  Senator Newman’s plan at this point is the best proposal we’ve seen.
The House and Senate will vote tomorrow on various plans, but the final outcome likely won’t be known until the final days of session and will be worked out in a conference committee.