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Democrat Tax Hikes Doomed

By Greg L | 25 June 2008 | Virginia Politics | 21 Comments

Caption from the MJM: Del. Brian J. Moran, D-Alexandria, left, and House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong, D-Henry, listen as Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, presents a bill to the House Finance committee in Richmond, VA, Tuesday, June 24, 2008, on the second day of the special transportation session.

I wouldn’t call this “listening”, at least on the part of Delegate Brian Moran.  I’d call this display of abject defeat as Brian Moran hears Scott Lingamfelter’s proposal to ensure that state transportation agencies prove they can spend taxpayer money effectively before they’re showered with another billion dollars of largesse.  Republican proposals are sailing through the House of Delegates with a bi-partisan majority while Kaine’s billion dollar tax hike is going nowhere, and all the momentum lies with such initiatives as Delegate Lingamfelter’s HB6023.This special session was supposed to be an opportunity for either Senate Democrats to force a hike in the gas tax (despite their campaign promises not to do this), or for Governor Kaine to raise sales taxes.  House Republicans instead are making a very strong case that throwing more money at a transportation system that clearly isn’t working makes no sense at all, and are demanding some much-needed reforms that have proven themselves hugely beneficial elsewhere.

And that’s why Brian Moran looks beaten.  It is because he and his caucus clearly have been, just a couple of days into this special session.

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  1. Taco Truck Ted said on 25 Jun 2008 at 9:24 pm:
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    Hello Juan from Juan’s House of Tacos here. We the suppliers of the worlds lowest priced, illegal, unregulated tacos, have one question: What are taxes and can we make tacos out of them? Please visit our websites today:



  2. MdMan said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:44 am:
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    Greg - last call for T x 3? Please.

  3. Taco Truck Ted said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:16 am:
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    MdMan said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:44 am:
    Greg - last call for T x 3? Please.

    Do you still live in Maryland?

  4. NoVA Scout said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:24 am:
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    I thought VDOT had been audited a good bit in recent years. If so, Lingamfelter’s bill is a waste of the taxpayors’ money. What a silly thing to propose in a special session where they could be addressing transportation funding.

  5. Anonymous said on 26 Jun 2008 at 6:23 am:
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    NoVA Scout - The ‘audits’ that you refer to were routine financial audits. What the House R’s have proposed is a top to bottom analysis of VDOT’s overall preparedness to fullfill their statutory mission. Among the things to ‘audit’ include management structure, process improvements, operational objectives, business model, etc. In other states that have done the same, enormous benefits to the taxpayers have been the result (Utah, Wash state are examples). By the way, Gov. Warner’s VDOT commissioner supports this plan. He has also said that VDOT is overstaffed by about 50%.

  6. Big Dog said on 26 Jun 2008 at 8:06 am:
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    With your premise, we assume VDOT (a branch
    of a state government recognized as the best operated
    in the country) is in total chaos - so bloated and
    wasted that we should do nothing before another “audit”.
    Forget VRE, bridge repair, repaving - delay everything
    until — after the next election?
    Perhaps the group that needs a real “audit”
    in Richmond, isn’t VDOT, but the failed Republican

  7. Andy H said on 26 Jun 2008 at 10:16 am:
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    I think that this seems like a good idea from an efficiency point of view. However, I have a hard time believing that we are going to be able to save our way out of this.

    To the anon above, do you have a link to a source for that 50% number? I’d like to read it….

  8. Johnson said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:24 pm:
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    An audit is a good start. I have no faith in the current VDOT to carry out it’s mission, nor the state assembly to spend the money on roads. Past performance has been dismal on both ends.

  9. Rob Smalls said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:40 pm:
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    Big Dog,

    Can’t we have an audit for both?

  10. Brian Leeper said on 26 Jun 2008 at 2:19 pm:
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    “VDOT (a branch of a state government recognized as the best operated in the country)”

    How many years has it been since that recognition was made?

  11. Big Dog said on 26 Jun 2008 at 3:00 pm:
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    Brian Leeper -
    Check the website for Governing magazine and
    read the “report card” for Virginia.
    Very positive except the final paragraph that
    observes the “many adjustments still being made
    because of a poorly planned car tax repeal”.
    (Gov. Silly Gilly’s legacy).
    Also suggest Forbes.com for a Virginia business
    climate ranking. Companies don’t thrive under
    bad government.
    Hope this helps.

  12. Brian Leeper said on 26 Jun 2008 at 3:10 pm:
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    I don’t know that one could draw the conclusion that since the state government is run well, that by extension VDOT is running well.

    My experiences lead me to believe otherwise–these are within the last 5 or so years, though. At one time VDOT seemed to be very well run.

  13. Big Dog said on 26 Jun 2008 at 3:19 pm:
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    Rob Smalls,

    Wish the Republicans would wake up and smell
    the asphalt.
    The Dems are no saints, but the GOPers in the GA
    are lead by bull s–t cowards.
    - Nobody likes taxes! Wow,who knew? BUT
    citizens also want safe roads, bridges and mass transit
    where practical and they aren’t fools - they know that takes
    - The Democratic Senate suggested a small gas
    tax increase that still leaves Va. with a far smaller
    rate than surrounding states and would make everyone,
    including outsiders, who use Va. roads pay for Va. roads.
    - The Republican House wants to kick the can down
    the road (hope it doesn’t fall in a pot hole) with
    another “audit” and, as a last resort, stick local
    governments with the job of seeking
    new revenue sources for STATE responsibilities.
    - Shame on them.

  14. Brian Leeper said on 26 Jun 2008 at 4:03 pm:
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    “they know that takes money.”

    I know that takes money, but I also want to know, “how much money and why”.

  15. Big Dog said on 26 Jun 2008 at 7:19 pm:
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    Of course citizens should demand accountability from their
    public bodies, but beware of paralysis by analysis.

    My observation is that the Republicans are not looking
    for more information and insight in Richmond, but for
    a way to protect their political hides from the far right
    wing of their party.

  16. charles said on 26 Jun 2008 at 8:36 pm:
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    The state has taken in more than enough money to pay for transportation.

    They’ve just wasted it all on OTHER things, things that aren’t all that useful or necessary.

    Even within the transportation segment, we’ve wasted lots of money. Have you seen the new rest stops? Sure, it’s great having rest stops with buildings you could live in, but all you really need is a place to spend 5 minutes going to the bathroom.

    Were we afraid people wouldn’t drive on our roads if they didn’t have Donald Trump-style bathrooms? And would it be a bad thing if people didn’t drive on the roads?

  17. Anchor Baby said on 26 Jun 2008 at 9:59 pm:
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    Instead of raising taxes or increasing or creating new ‘fees’ (which are just taxes) lets look at cutting state services across the board to fund what transportation issues people think are important.

    Your choice; fire, ems, police, or roads.

    You can have 3 at sensible funding or 4 at minimum.

    People are so quick to say we need to tax our way out of this issue but if I overspend one month or one year, can I rightfully go to my boss and ask him for more money because I wasn’t able to control my reckless spending of the past? No……….

  18. Red Dawn said on 26 Jun 2008 at 11:00 pm:
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    “Sure, it’s great having rest stops with buildings you could live in, but all you really need is a place to spend 5 minutes going to the bathroom”

    NOT to sound like I am attacking or picking on you (I responded to you in another thread)

    I actually agree with you here. I always said that IF ever I become homeless, I would go to Fairfax Hospital.

    Serious ( it was a joke about 10 years ago, but had me thinking)

    You can get lost in that place. You could have a tv lounge with a phone to fresh linens, the tie up in the back clean outfit on a cot in the hallway and so on. Don’t get me wrong that the place is accommodating but at what expense?

  19. Brian Leeper said on 27 Jun 2008 at 12:36 am:
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    “Have you seen the new rest stops?”

    Like the one just north of the I95/VA 3 (Fredericksburg) interchange? (Which, incidentally, is in *dire* need of collector-distributor lanes to separate exiting and entering traffic from I95).

  20. freedom said on 28 Jun 2008 at 9:34 am:
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    There is plenty of waste in state government, but I will guarantee that they will find a way to spend every penny that they can collect. The problem is, neither you, nor I, nor our elected representatives know where that waste is. The heads of the various agencies know, but do you think they will share that information? Of course not.

    An increase in gasoline tax…or any OTHER tax, for that matter is not the real problem…the real problem though is that no matter how much tax money the state decides to collect, it will NEVER be enough!!

    I just registered a private vehicle in the state of Virginia…$83 for two years. Shoot, that could be increased to $100 for two years and that increase would be only $8.50 increase per year…sure, that’s ok, right?? Someone computed that for the average driver, the gas tax increase would only be another $15 per year…that’s not much either, right? Oh, and drivers license fee, we could double that one and it still wouldn’t be too bad, right?

    Do you suppose that if all of these increases were made in one year that would be the last we’d hear of tax increases for a while? Nope. Pre-kindergarten for four year olds is coming….oh, and state provided day care for those poor two and three year old children of Moms who must work … sheeeeeeeeeesh — just like transportation improvements, these programs cost money…and where will that money come from?

    Thus, our representatives have five choiices: 1) Ignore the fact that there is waste, afterall, there’s nothing we can do about it and collect more taxes to fund essential programs like VDOT, 2) take pot-shots at various state agencies, “hoping” that you’ve made the right cuts, and that not too many voters get angry, 3) close down state functions that are non-essential or could be better performed by private industry (now THAT’s not a bad one) 4) implement an across the board reduction in appropriations for each state agency. (I dare say that there is not a single state agency that couldn’t quite easily absorb a 5%…perhaps even 10% reduction in funding…and wouldn’t THAT money help with the transportation problem…year after year.) or 5) demand a full, across the board audit for all state agencies, as has been proposed for VDOT…then waste could be identified.

    Which would you pick?

  21. freedom said on 28 Jun 2008 at 11:10 am:
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    As a follow on to my previous post, concerning state funded day care for 2 and 3 year olds of Moms who MUST work.

    Our economy was never designed nor intended to be such that everyone had equal amounts of money or riches. People have the ability to work and achieve…and sometimes that “work” is at achieving specialized skills or education, in planning for the future. Those people generally achieve more than those who do not seek that advantage.

    The problem comes in when those who do NOT achieve specialized skills/education wish to live the same lifestyle as those who work to achieve. So, here comes the working Mom who “needs to work” so the family, with dual income, can afford that 42″ HDTV while the state takes care of her children, thus permitting her to work and create that extra income.

    Is there something wrong with this picture?

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