Skip to comments.VA tax debate...WHAT'S AT STAKE (excellent read)
Posted on 04/02/2004 6:35:29 AM PST by Gopher Broke
April 1, 2004
Understanding Virginias Tax Debate
Whats at Stake?
By Delegate Dick Black
Q. Why cant lawmakers agree on this years 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 cant 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. Dont we need bigger taxes for schools?
A. No. The House budget provides 12% more for public schools than the Governors budget. Thats $88 million more for public schools than the Governors plan.
Q. Shouldnt we raise taxes to protect Virginias AAA Bond Rating?
A. No. Bob Kurtter, Senior V.P. for Moodys Investors Service, said, If the decision of the Commonwealth is not to raise taxes, then fine; just dont 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. Arent other states considering similar tax increases?
A. No. Virginias 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. Wed 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. Didnt 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. Didnt Governor Warner promise not to raise taxes?
A. Yes. Governor Warner deceived voters when he ran for Governor. He said: Youve heard a lot of false charges from my opponent in this years governors 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. Thats 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 isnt 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.
2. Get your Senators contact info at:
To contact Senators: Phone: 804-698-75xx (xx=district #) Email: Districtxx@sov.state.va.us (xx=district #)