Politicians Reorganizing for Next Attack on Taxpayers?
The Virginia Supreme Court, in a ruling today (requires Adobe), saves taxpayers and the Virginia Constitution from politicians. But let Kristina Rasmussen of the National Taxpayers Union say it much better in this press release, than ElGrandeGrowler:
"Today's Virginia Supreme Court decision marks a well-deserved victory for the Commonwealth's taxpayers. America is founded on the principle of no taxation without representation, and Virginia's Constitution allows the allocation of taxing powers only to directly elected legislative bodies and units of government. The law we challenged in this case (HB 3202) bestowed the ability to tax upon two bureaucratically structured regional authorities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Simply put, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) was not an elected entity. Even so, NVTA tried to levy $300 million in new taxes on local residents, and began collecting taxes at the start of 2008.
“This ruling puts a halt to the insidious practice of subjecting the electorate to higher taxes at the hands of people they never had a chance to vote for (or against) at the polls. The decision also sends a strong message to the Virginia General Assembly that it can't wantonly disregard the rights of taxpayers in attempts to find politically expedient revenue sources. This case wasn't decided on a technicality, and the Court's unanimous decision stands as a serious rebuke to lawmakers. This need not have happened if elected officials had actually read the Constitution they swore to uphold before passing HB 3202. Equally important, the decision provides a clear warning to over-reaching legislatures in other states.
“The homeowners, small business owners, motorists, and taxpayers of Northern Virginia look forward to having the 'null and void' taxes levied by the NVTA refunded to them."
The transportation plan was challenged by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), among others, according to the DC Examiner, which also wrote:
“The court agreed with Marshall's contention that the Virginia Constitution allows only officials directly elected by the people to levy taxes.”
Although the county government is unable to build a fire station in 10 years even though voters approved the bonding authority, and it needs perhaps five years to install a 4-way stop sign after being requested by a civic association, the Courthouse Gang (aka the Arlington County Board) was able to produce this press release in less than eight hours. Will wonders never cease? Is the vaunted Arlington Way dead? Could the Gang of 5 (aka the Arlington County Board) be reorganizing another attack on taxpayers?
In addition to the Examiner’s news coverage, here is additional coverage of the story: Washington Post (here and here) and Washington Times. In addition, the Tax Foundation has a much better explanation, including a link to their recent report, for those wanting a more technical explanation. Rather than covering the politicians whining about the Virginia Supreme Court decision, the news media should be covering the real bad guys, i.e., the politicians who ignored the Virginia Constitution and unlawfully plundered Virginia taxpayers.
We take this opportunity to thank Delegate Bob Marshall and all the others who contributed their time and money to this important effort on behalf of taxpayers.
UPDATE (4/17/08): A friend from the Cherrydale Citizens Association tells me that the "10 years" in the third paragraph should actually be "17 years."