GOP Poll Found Opposition to Higher Taxes
A poll commissioned by House Republicans in April found widespread opposition to higher taxes to pay for transportation, but it also includes responses that my make Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) optimistic about his own plan to raise additional revenue.
The survey, which House Republicans are using to help justify their resistance to a statewide tax increase, found that 68 percent of likely voters oppose of a five cent hike in the state's 17.5 cent a gallon gas tax. (This was in April, before the latest surge in gas prices.)
Residents in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads hold different views about paying more for gas.
In Hampton Roads, residents by a 2 to 1 margin opposed an increase in the gas tax. In Northern Virginia, reaction was more evenly divided, with 50 percent of voters rejecting the idea while 46 percent supported it.
Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) is pushing for a six cent increase in the gas tax, which would be phased in over six years.
In the GOP poll, voters were also asked if they supported - and by how much - raising Virginia's 5 percent sales tax.
The poll, which was obtained by the Washington Post Monday, found 55 percent of voters are opposed to any increase.
Twenty-two percent said they would support a half-cent increase if the money went to transportation. Just 15 percent supported a one-cent increase, which Kaine is proposing for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
But the public appears more receptive of Kaine's proposal to raise the tax on vehicle sales.
Kaine is proposing a 1 percent increase but the poll asked voters their opinion of a 2 percent increase, noting it would add $400 in taxes on the purchase of a $20,000 vehicle
The poll, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, found the public statewide is nearly equally divided on the question; 51 oppose the idea while 45 supported the increase. In Northern Virginia, however, 55 percent of likely voters supported raising the sales tax on car sales. A majority of voters in Hampton Roads are against the idea.
The poll also detected some hostility toward the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority in that part of the state.
Voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to "vote for a member of the General Assembly who stood in the way" of regional taxing authorities in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and "insisted on a statewide tax increase instead."
Statewide, just 20 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who embraced a statewide solution. Responses from residents in Northern Virginia closely track the statewide result. But in Hampton Roads, a third of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who tried to derail the authorities in favor of a statewide approach.
Voters in all regions of the state overwhelmingly support holding a referendum in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads on what taxes should be raised in those two regions to pay for transportation improvements.
June 23, 2008; 7:28 PM ET
Categories: Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig
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