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VA tax debate...WHAT'S AT STAKE (excellent read)
Delegate Dick Black

Posted on 04/02/2004 6:35:29 AM PST by Gopher Broke

April 1, 2004

Understanding Virginia’s Tax Debate

What’s at Stake?

By Delegate Dick Black

Q. Why can’t lawmakers agree on this year’s State budget?

A. The Governor and Senate are demanding massive tax increases. This is the sole reason for budget deadlock in Richmond. The House of Delegates opposes higher taxes.

Q. How much are the Senate and Governor demanding?

A. The Governor wants the largest tax increase in Virginia history--$1 billion in new taxes. The Senate insists on $1,100 from each family. Senator Saslaw told the press, “You can’t give me enough money to satisfy me.” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 27, 2004.

Q. Does the House budget cut too much spending?

A. No. The House Budget actually increases spending by 11%, from $52 billion to $57.5 billion.

Q. Don’t we need bigger taxes for schools?

A. No. The House budget provides 12% more for public schools than the Governor’s budget. That’s $88 million more for public schools than the Governor’s plan.

Q. Shouldn’t we raise taxes to protect Virginia’s AAA Bond Rating?

A. No. Bob Kurtter, Senior V.P. for Moody’s Investors Service, said, “If the decision of the Commonwealth is not to raise taxes, then fine; just don’t continue to spend more than you raise.”

Q. Would replenishing the Rainy Day Fund help our credit?

A. Yes. The House budget adds $1/4 billion ($15 million more than the Governor) to this fund.

Q. Aren’t other states considering similar tax increases?

A. No. Virginia’s tax plans are the “broadest and most sweeping in any state” according to Scott Pattison, Executive Director of National Association of State Budget Officers. On March 17th, The Washington Post reported that, although other states are considering tax proposals, “no others are attempting the kind of broad, across-the-board tax changes proposed by Warner and the Senate.”

Q. Does the Senate plan raise taxes on senior citizens?

A. Yes. It increases taxes on senior citizens by eliminating the senior tax deduction.

Q. What things are impacted by these proposed new taxes?

A. (1) state income, (2) sales,(3) gasoline,(4) automobiles,(5) new homes,(6) airlines,(7) natural gas,(8) electricity,(9) cigarettes,(10) water,(11) telephones,(12) cell phones,(13) alcoholic beverages,(14) taxi cabs,(15) newspapers,(16) satellites,(17) shipbuilding,(18) movie production,(19) printing,(20) local income, and (21) senior citizens.

Q. Would Virginia still be a low-tax state if we adopted the Warner/Senate Plan?

A. No. We’d become the 15th most highly-taxed state if we adopted the original Senate budget. Today, we are 28th according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Q. Didn’t we just reject higher taxes at a referendum?

A. Yes. Two years ago, voters sent a strong message to lawmakers by rejecting a sales tax hike. But some lawmakers have short memories. Senators intend to ignore the referendum and enact the biggest tax hikes in Virginia history.

Q. Didn’t Governor Warner promise not to raise taxes?

A. Yes. Governor Warner deceived voters when he ran for Governor. He said: “You’ve heard a lot of false charges from my opponent in this year’s governor’s race. Let me set the record straight. I will not raise taxes.” But ever since his election, Warner has fought to impose massive tax increases.

Q. Why not let the people decide?

A. That’s exactly what we should do. However, two years ago, citizens voted down the sales tax hike. The Governor and Senate lost that fight, and refuse to consult voters again.

Q. Does the House trust the people to decide?

A. Yes. The House wants a referendum so that voters can decide if they want more taxes.

Q. What if a new budget isn’t approved by July 1st?

A. We can enact an interim budget that continues funding at existing levels. However, the Governor and Senate may hold the people hostage for political gain. They can create serious difficulty for local governments by deliberately orchestrating a government shutdown.

Q. Is Mark Warner willing to shut down the government just to increase taxes?

A. Yes. Governor Warner said he would veto any budget that does not include major tax increases.

Q. What can I do to help?

A. Contact Governor Mark Warner and your local Senator, and give them this message:

“No Government Shut-down, and No New Taxes!”

* * * *

During my six years in office, I have never voted for a tax increase. I do not intend to start now.

TOPICS: US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: dickblack; hightaxstate; markwarner; taxincrease; vabudget; vageneralassembly
1. Contact Governor Mark Warner by phone at: (804) 786-2211 or electronically by visiting:

2. Get your Senator’s contact info at:

To contact Senators: Phone: 804-698-75xx (xx=district #) Email: (xx=district #)

1 posted on 04/02/2004 6:35:33 AM PST by Gopher Broke
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2 posted on 04/02/2004 6:37:21 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
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To: Gopher Broke
I was in Delegate Black's district until recently, when the lines were redrawn after the Y2K census. Some days I really want to move back into it!
3 posted on 04/02/2004 7:17:23 AM PST by gieriscm (The AW ban sunsets on 09/13/2004)
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To: gieriscm
At the risk of sounding combative, how does the state intend to deal with its lack-of-money issues? Does the legislature have the backbone to scale spending back? How much (a percentage would be good) of the spending increases are related to federally-mandated expeditures?
4 posted on 04/02/2004 9:04:27 AM PST by Amalie (FREEDOM had NEVER been another word for nothing left to lose...)
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