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Many jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia area, specifically those in which the big Government liberals are totally in charge (Arlington County) or where the big Government liberals have a majority of the seats (Alexandria, VA), are facing serious budget shortfalls. This is because they refuse to cut spending.
Now, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley of Alexandria, VA wants to double the gas tax in Northern Virginia. The gas tax is now typically $.17 a gallon. The proposed legislation (file can be found here – PDF file), thanks to the Vice Mayor, would double that amount. The impetus behind this is that each 1 percent brings in about $1.2 million annually for the City of Alexandria.
The legislation states (emphasis mine) (from item 9 on page 5 under the heading ‘Legislation to Introduce’):
Increasing the Northern Virginia Sales Tax on Motor Fuels (Vice Mayor Donley). The City of Alexandria requests legislation to increase the regional sales tax on motor fuels. Vice Mayor Donley has proposed increasing the sales tax on motor fuels in Northem Virginia by up to 2 percent (it is now 2.1 per cent, levied on the distributor). Although revenues from this tax are somewhat volatile, since they fluctuate with the price of gasoline, each one percent increase would likely result in about $1.2M annually for the City, and over $15M for the Northern Virginia WMATA localities. Legislation to increase this tax should specify that revenues from it will not be used to supplant existing revenue sources (e.g., state match for dedicated federal Metro funding).
Translated: Instead of cutting spending by replacing this revenue stream with the state’s dedicated federal Metro funding, this would be an additional stream of revenue for the City.
It also appears that Vice Mayor Donley hates tourists. The Vice Mayor wrote to Bernie Caton, the City’s legislative director:
“Travelers and visitors to the region should pay more of the burden as they are the direct beneficiaries of the reduced congestion brought to us by the Metro system,”
In a deep recession, it should behoove City Council and the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Bureau to try and keep the costs to tourists low so that the tourists will keep coming back. They should not be advocating for increasing the cost to the tourist.
The folks in Alexandria and in the surrounding jurisdictions in Northern Virginia pay between $.30 to $.50 higher than the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Raising the gas tax, especially in a recession that is expected to get worse, will not solve the problem.
Reducing spending, making transportation and mass transit more customer friendly will go a lot farther than local Government stealing more of our money and our freedom by increasing taxes.