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

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.

Read more here about the proposal, 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 Boiling (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?

BWFairfax January 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM
It seems more regressive as many poor people don't own cars or pay a gas tax but we all have to purchase other necessities and would be hit by a sales tax. Also, I support maintaining the transportation infrastructure we already have, but I hope this would NOT fund sprawl into more of our gorgeous countryside, which is a large part of Virginia's charm. I do NOT want to fund turning more of VA into the Norfolk or N. VA suburbs in terms of traffic and overpopulation, etc. I'd rather educate our kids!
Frederick C. Cassiday January 09, 2013 at 06:52 PM
The Governor that brought you Trans-vaginal probes is now going to try to stick it to folks in a different way. We should be increasing the gas tax and lowering the sales taxes. That would stimulate business and discourage excessive driving. As usual this Governor has it completely bass ackwards. :)
Rich Williams January 10, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Seems like an interesting idea: Good to see a novel approach coming from our state. The sales tax is less regressive than a gas tax (wealthier people buy more goods and pay more tax, plus food is exempt from the tax increase) and seems like a much more sustainable way to fund public goods such as roads. High gas taxes, tolls and HOT lanes hurt working class households very hard, so I'm glad to see a transportation proposal that more fair.

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