Virginia’s 2013 state legislative session will be remembered for a lot of reasons. It was the year Republicans redistricted state senate districts to win more seats and then said just kidding, the year Republicans agreed to expand Medicaid in exchange for higher taxes (confused? Me too.), and most significantly, it was the year a Republican Governor worked with Democrats to raise taxes on Virginia families by $1.23 billion per year. Congratulations, Virginia.
In honor of a precedent set forth by Nancy Pelosi in Washington, the state legislature decided that they had to pass the 2013 Transportation Tax Hike (HB 2313) before they actually read it. Now that it sits on the Governor’s desk, we know what’s in the bill: a litany of higher taxes.
ATR’s State Affairs Manager Will Upton spent the weekend reviewing the bill and here are the results:
58.1-603: The State Sales Tax Hike: Bumps up the state rate from 4% to 4.3%. Localities already get a 1% sales tax on top so what consumers will see is a jump from 5% to 5.3%.
58.1-603.1: The Regional Sales Tax Hike: Additional sales tax in certain counties and cities. This section bumps the sales tax for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads from 5.3% to an even 6%. In Hampton Roads, that means $200 million in higher taxes annually and $350 million in Northern Virginia.
58.1-638.3 Explanation of Where .3% Sales Tax Hike Goes: 40% to light rail and mass transit projects.
58.1-802.2: Northern Virginia Regional Property Tax Hike: Imposes a .25% tax on the sale of property in Northern Virginia
58.1-1742 Northern Virginia Hotel Tax: 3% hotel tax increase for Northern Virginia
58.1-2217 Replaces Gas Tax With Sales Tax on Gas: Moves the gas tax from a 17.5-cent tax per gallon to a 3.5% of the statewide average wholesale price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline for the applicable base period. Also replaces diesel fuel tax of 17.5-cents per gallon to a rate of 6% on the statewide average wholesale price of a gallon of self-serve diesel fuel, about a 5 cents per gallon tax hike.
Both the diesel and unleaded gas taxes have built in floors laid out in the bill to prevent the state from losing revenue.
58.1-2249 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax: $100 registration tax on alternative fuel vehicles, an aptly rounded $66.6 million tax hike over 5 years.
58.1-2295: Hampton Roads Retail Dealer Tax: keeps in place the 2.1% tax on sale price charged by a distributer to fuels sold to a retail dealer in Hampton Roads.
58.1-2402: The Car Tax: increases the vehicle sales tax from 3% to 4% in 2013, 4.1% in 2014, 4.2% in 2015, and 4.3% in 2016.
58.1-2217. The We’ll Get You if Congress Doesn’t Tax: If Congress rejects the federal internet tax scheme, the tax on wholesale gasoline in 2015 will increase from 3.5% to 5.1%, without a provision to revert back if the law were to pass after 2015.This is a $1.2 billion tax hike over 5 years, according to the Governor’s estimates.
Taxpayers were stabbed in the back. Republican Bob McDonnell still has the chance to veto this monstrosity, though that is unlikely given that he has been a vocal cheerleader for HB 2313 for more than a month, even when the bill went from a $2.4 billion tax hike to a $6.1 billion tax hike.
Bob McDonnell campaigned against Democrat Creigh Deeds in 2009 saying that he unequivocally would “not raise taxes.” The lesson here? When a politician refuses to put in writing that he or she will oppose tax hikes, there is probably a reason. Thanks, Bob.