ROCKBRIDGE WEEKLY EDITORIAL
When we elect representatives to the legislature and governor’s job, we have a reasonable expectation that they’ll use logic and statistics to back up proposed moves on such items as taxation.
After reading the words of Gov. Tim Kaine with respect to how to help fund much-need road maintenance, logic and common sense doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of the debate.
On the one hand, very punitive and probably constitutionally illegal policies were put in place to punish Virginia drivers for bad driving behavior (but not their out-of-state equals). In some cases, fees and fines could reach into the thousands. Since that silly approach apparently isn’t yielding the expected $65 million per year that was estimated, Mr. Kaine proposes that the government go from bad to worse by proposing that the sales tax on vehicles be changed from 3% to 5%.
This is exactly the kind of move most conservative minded Virginians fear from a Democrat: ‘tax what you can without regard to effect.’ Mr. Kaine’s bean counters have not, at least to our knowledge, provided detailed statistics on the overall impact of such a move, merely an estimate of increased revenue based on recent sales transactions. With the auto industry having more than its share of problems these days, does it make sense to arbitrarily raise the cost of purchasing a new or used car? No, it does not!
Many Virginians are forced to use their vehicles to get to and from work and thus, increasing the cost of updating this form of transportation at the same time that other taxes, the cost of fuel, education and health care are rising, is a terrible move. In fact, such a proposal, especially since it was not coupled with any serious and comprehensive strategy to streamline state government expenditures, seems totally out of touch.
We’d agree with one thing, however, it would be simple. Simple-minded, we mean. It’s nothing less than a governmental cash grab, proposed at the worst possible time.
Perhaps Gov. Kaine is not aware that, also, the price of the average vehicle has been climbing in recent years and this fact alone has resulted in increased revenues at the same 3% rate based on those higher prices?