Virginia’s transportation-funding system’s drive toward socialism seems to veering even further left. Readers may remember Governor McDonnell’s plan to increase funding for transportation schemes — mostly transit — by abolishing the gas tax (not as good as it sounds) and replacing with a raft of other tax increases, including heavy reliance on an Internet sales tax that would entrench the principle of states’ being able to tax out-of-state residents. The plan ran contrary to sound conservatives principles of transportation in several ways. Most notably, it replaced the “user pays” principle with a redistributive general taxation model. My colleague Marc Scribner detailed exactly what was wrong with the governor’s plan in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The governor’s plan has been distorted by Virginia house and senate wrangling, but not in a good way. Details of the latest deal to emerge from Richmond are:
This plan retains all of the bad features of the governor’s plan. It breaks the user-pays principle so that non-transit users in the rest of the state will pay for the brunt of transit schemes in Northern Virginia. It still relies heavily on an Internet sales tax. Worst of all, it represents a massive tax increase. The price the governor and the Virginia lower-house speaker had to pay to get this tax increase agreed on also apparently includes the legislature’s giving up its power over redistricting. It defies believe that such a plan could be proposed in a commonwealth where conservatives have supposedly dominated state government. All conservative Virginians should oppose this plan, forcefully.