Moran and Deeds Debate Gas Tax Increase
The General Assembly's debate over transportation this week set up a rare, clear division between the two Democratic candidates for governor next year.
Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) voted in favor of a plan by Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) to raise the state's gas tax by six cents over six years, which would cost the average family about $45 a year. Deed's likely opponent in next year's Democratic primary, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), voted to strip the gas tax from Saslaw's bill when it got to the House floor.
The two campaigns are now throwing verbal jabs at the other over the issue.
Instead of the gas tax, Moran voted for a bill, which ultimately failed, that would have increased the auto titling tax by one half percent and increased the sales tax one quarter percent, while decreasing the sales tax on food.
"Just this week, gas prices crossed $4 per gallon average in Virginia and people are struggling," said Jesse F. Ferguson, a Moran spokesman. "Delegate Moran put forward plans to solve our transportation crisis and relieve traffic congestion without raising gas prices. When people are struggling in this economy, raising gas prices is like throwing an anchor to a drowning man."
Peter Jackson, a Deeds spokesman, counters Deeds supported the gas tax increase because he and his Democratic colleagues in the Senate were focused on "finding a statewide solution to the transportation problem."
"You saw the acrimony, the bickering and the political gamesmanship in the House of Delegates," Jackson said. "Contrast that with the Senate that passed a plan that created a 21st century statewide vision for transportation. The devil is in the details, but the details are not what this is about. Virginians expect lawmakers to come home with a solution. That is what Senator Deeds was working towards."
Jackson also referenced a 2007 Daily Press article in which Moran is quoted as saying an increase in the gas tax was "reasonable and prudent."
Ferguson noted those comments were made when gas was still less than $3 a gallon.
"With gas at $4 a gallon anyone who wants to raise gas taxes is out of touch with what people are going through," Ferguson said. "Brian has never voted for a gas tax increase."
Jackson maintains Deeds did the right thing by supporting Saslaw's bill. "It is very clear where Senator Deeds stands, providing transportation solutions for Virginia. The same can't be said of Delegate Moran," Jackson said.
July 11, 2008; 1:08 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation
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