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Call Your Delegate

Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R) was the chief plaintiff in the case against the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), which resulted in the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling that the General Assembly cannot delegate its taxing authority to unelected bodies such as NVTA. We growled about this on February 29, 2008. In an e-mail from Del. Marshall yesterday, he writes”

“Unless you contact House of Delegates members before July 9 you may be facing higher taxes and fees, not just from Democrats who want higher auto, sales, real property and gas taxes, but from Republicans too!”

He then goes on to say:

“Virginia’s families face falling home prices, increased real property taxes, skyrocketing gas and food prices, an 18 per cent electric rate hike for Dominion, a 6.4% monthly increase in natural gas prices, almost five decades of federal deficit spending, and a devalued dollar.

“Enough is enough.  Surely this is not the time for the General Assembly to be raising taxes and fees.

“If Virginia’s government cannot operate on 97 per cent of its $75.9 billion budget (2009-10), something is definitely wrong.  Three percent of that figure is $2.277 billion, or $1.14 billion that could be re-directed each year to fix roads and transit systems.

“No democrat (SB 6009) or republican (HB 6055) tax proposal pending in the General Assembly raises more than $1.1 billion a year.  Also, the Assembly should support changing work schedules or telework, use toll- and fare-supported transportation bonds, set up bio-fuel capture centers, permanently make state government more efficient and spend the savings on roads and transit.

“Here’s legislation pending in the House of Delegates to attack the problem without raising taxes:

    • HJR 6007:  Lock up the Transportation Trust Fund so transportation dollars are not diverted for other means.  Over the last18 years, more than $1.2 billion have been diverted to non-transportation uses. This must stop.
    • HB 6030:  Fund major transportation projects using bonds paid by tolls or rider fares; i.e., Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion, I-81 truck improvements (trucks pay tolls), the Tri-County (Prince William-Fairfax-Loudoun) Connector, expansion of commuter rail in Northern Virginia to Haymarket, buying more Metro subway rail cars, etc.
    • HB 6049: Allow naming rights for corporations and individuals willing to pay for building roads and other transportation projects, as is done for stadiums and school buildings.
    • HB 6031: Require all tractor-trailers (including those from out of state) to pay a per-mile road maintenance and damage charge now being passed on to other Virginia drivers.
    • HB 6032: Set up a permanent state oversight commission, similar to the federal cost-cutting BRAC Commission, to evaluate whether state holdings should be sold, to identify duplicate programs, and to cut unnecessary overhead while maintaining the same level of services.
    • HJR 6011: Stop burning food!  Request a waiver from the federal ethanol mandate.  Ethanol results in less mpg and increases food prices by diverting food to fuel.
    • HJR 6008:  Assess methane resources now being wasted in Virginia that could be converted to fuel for cars/trucks.
"Implement the 2002 Wilder Commission efficiency recommendations that were projected to currently save $1.1 billion annually without reducing services."

“Sadly, these and similar measures have been sent by Speaker Bill Howell to his Rules Committee, where he is simply sitting on them.  The result will be Democrat or Republican tax increases.  Let your elected officials hear from you.”

He also provides the webpage for contacting your state senator or delegate, or learning who they are. You can also see all the bills referred to the House Rules Committee for the special transportation session.

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