DELEGATE RICH ANDERSON: ANOTHER NO VOTE ON THE TRANSPORTATION BILL

travel.pngWell, it took awhile, but Democrats finally figured out that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill is full of tax increases. Therefore, they are happy with it.

This article explains, and it says who voted for it.

VA Senate Passes $880 Million Transportation Bill, Sends It To McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The state Senate has passed the first long-term reform to Virginia’s floundering 27-year-old system for funding repairs and upkeep of its 58,000-mile network of highways.

The 25-15 vote sends to Gov. Bob McDonnell what would be the defining policy legacy in the fourth and final year of the single, non-renewable term Virginia allows its governors.      It would replace Virginia’s 17 1/2 cents-per-gallon retail gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent levy on diesel fuel. It boosts statewide sales taxes from 5 percent to 5.3 percent.

It increases the titling tax on car sales and adds a $100 registration fee for fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles. It also rules out proposed tolls on Interstate 95 south of Petersburg. (continued here)

How did this happen? We have been greedy. Because we have voted for people who promise to give us other people’s money, we have put thieves in charge of our government.

There is no honor among thieves. — proverb

The thieves we elect will steal from the people, even from the people who voted for them.

Proverbs 29:24 Good News Translation (GNT)

A thief’s partner is his own worst enemy. He will be punished if he tells the truth in court, and God will curse him if he doesn’t.

And they cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Fortunately, we still elect some people who care about doing the right thing. Delegate Rich Anderson sent out an email today explaining his vote against the bill. Here is an excerpt.

Staying Connected, District Update #2013-3:

“House Bill 2313 on Virginia Transportation

It’s Saturday afternoon, February 23rd, and I am typing these words at my General Assembly desk in Richmond during a recess on our last day of the 2013 legislative session. I am writing to tell you about a crucial vote we took yesterday (Friday).

This crucial vote concerned final passage of HB2313 (the House-Senate Transportation Bill).  Although HB2313 passed by a final vote of 60-40, I voted NO on this bill, along with five other Prince William County delegates. As your delegate to the General Assembly, I feel a strong sense of accountability to you and wish to explain my vote.

Despite the reality that the transportation needs of the Commonwealth require additional new funding for construction of new roadways and maintenance of existing roads, I felt that this bill levied a heavy fiscal burden on our neighbors. Washington’s solution is higher taxes on families and job creators, and I didn’t want to do the same in Virginia.

My reasons for my NO vote resulted from the below realities.

First, we saw the final copy of HB2313, 109 pages of complex data, on Thursday night at 6:15pm—hours before our vote on Friday and without full discussion and understanding its complexities. The bill was not posted promptly on the General Assembly website for you to make input.

Second, our citizens were hit last month with a 2% federal decrease in their take-home pay.  Federal officials openly speak of federal tax increases. Sequestration and the federal fiscal cliff threaten to kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in Virginia and Prince William County. The national economy didn’t merely remain flat last quarter…it contracted.  And we are in times of unprecedented fiscal uncertainty.

Third, HB2313 is a “compromise” that raises taxes and fees on Virginia families at a time when people are worried about losing their jobs. It increases taxes at the pump for cars and trucks; it increases the tax on car sales by 40%; it increases the sales tax to 6%; it increases fees on alternative fuel vehicles; it implements a high grantor tax on houses; it levies a 3% transient occupancy tax; and it depends on internet taxes that will be implemented by Washington—all without a single dollar cut in spending or an offset of another tax.

Let me be clear:  I am not a legislator who will reflexively vote against a tax or fee increase if truly needed—and affordable to hardworking citizens in Prince William County. I have also declined to sign any “no-tax pledges.” But I thought we could do better than HB2313.

To better understand your perspective, I conducted three town hall meetings with our neighbors in January and February; personally exchanged several thousand emails with people in Prince William County; discussed the issue of taxes in hundreds of telephone calls; and met with hundreds of PWC residents. The overwhelming sentiment expressed to me was a simple “please do not raise my taxes in this economy.”

As a member of both the House Transportation Committee and House Finance Committee, I presented an alternative Transportation bill last month, on behalf of several legislators, to a committee hearing in the Capitol. The bill I presented would have adjusted a number of taxes to raise revenue, repealed the food tax to help those less fortunate, saved the average family of four $100 in taxes each year (as scored by the Virginia Department of Taxation), and lessened the financial impact on you and your family. Unfortunately, the House-Senate Conference Committee wrote the final plan that we saw yesterday.

For years, Northern Virginia has sent money to Richmond without adequate return to our area. We currently get an average of 30 cents back for every dollar we send to Richmond. Friday’s plan does not fully resolve that problem, and I believe strongly that more transportation dollars must come back to our community where gridlock exists.

Friends, in making this tough decision, we received an avalanche of mail and calls from you, our neighbors. My colleagues and I are citizen-legislators, meaning that we are citizens first. Your perspective helped shape my vote, and I believe strongly that most Prince William County residents sincerely want a transportation solution, but not one that burdens them financially.

Note that Anderson listened to your input. It does not hurt to contact your legislators.

Comments are closed.

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