Editor-in-Chief of The American Maverick Blog, Flint Engleman, joins with Virginia's top political bloggers to appeal to members of Virginia's General Assembly to vote down House Bill 2313. The proposed bill would increase taxes by approximately $1.3 Billion. Mostly via new taxes. Some of the taxes would not be readily identifiable by citizens. For example, the price embedding in the new fuel wholesale tax.
Here is the complete open letter as submitted to the General Assembly by The Jeffersoniad Blog Alliance:
THE JEFFERSONIAD BLOG ALLIANCE
Members of the Virginia General Assembly
1000 Bank Street
Richmond, Virginia 23218
An Open Letter to the Virginia General Assembly
On Wednesday, February 20, the conference committee on HB 2313 announced a “compromise” that included more tax increases than either of the two original versions.
We the undersigned members of the Jeffersoniad Blog Alliance ask in the strongest possible terms that you oppose HB 2313.
If fully implemented, the bill would cost Virginia taxpayers over $1.3 billion in new taxes. With the economy on a knife’s edge, additional taxes would damage employment (by raising the cost of business), consumption (by raising overall prices), and the overall business environment.
This is not the time to raise taxes on hard-working Virginian employers and employees.
Moreover, the “local” tax increases (on Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia) will have numerous consequences in addition to exacerbating the damage mentioned above.
The grantor’s tax is an especially cruel tax to impose on these regions as they still try to recover from the housing slump that began over five years ago.
The higher sales tax will damage business on the regions’ outskirts (Prince William, Loudon, Gloucester, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, James, City, York, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach) as their neighbors’ lower taxes attract businesses and consumers.
The regional hotel occupancy tax may or may not affect tourism, but it will certainly be an increased cost to business travel, further damaging the business climate.
Compounding this confusion will be the internet sales tax, which will now be expected (assuming Congressional passage) to be imposed not evenly throughout Virginia, but according to the sales tax quilt woven by this bill.
Finally, the creation of these regional taxes will encourage revenue-addicted politicians in other regions throughout the Commonwealth, adding greater uncertainty in tax regimens, and a patchwork of local taxes.
There are severe economic consequences to these tax increases that directly affect the back pockets of average working class Virginia families.
The political consequences are equally troubling. It is no small secret that many conservatives and libertarians within the Republican Party are looking for leadership willing to act on the principles of smaller government, greater liberty and an increased commitment to individual ethics.
So long as 20th century solutions continue to be applied, Virginia's total and incapacitating failure to lead and govern based on these principles means conservatives and libertarians are forced to have an active and open conversation in the public square as to whether new leadership and new organizations are required to move Virginia into the 21st century.
Every Republican statewide official (and most legislators) were elected on a promise not to raise taxes. This bill erodes the credibility of all future candidates and the ability of voters to hold said candidates accountable.
This violation of faith damages our democracy in incalculable ways.
Therefore, for both economic and political reasons, we ask you to reject HB 2313. In a state where spending in Richmond has risen from less than $50 billion per biennium in 2000 to over $90 billion per biennium in 2012, surely a thorough review of the state budget can find expenditures that are not as high-priority as transportation. Moreover, within the category of transportation spending, we believe there can be a better prioritization of money spent.
The Right Wing Liberal
The Write Side of my Brain
Trent A. Barton
Eve Marie Barner Gleason
The American Maverick