House Democrats criticize McDonnell proposal; praise Republican legislative plan
Democrats took to the House floor Wednesday to announce their opposition to Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to designate a portion of the state sales taxes to road projects in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads -- and to support a Republican legislative plan to tax out-of-state corporations that sell services in Virginia as a way to raise as much as $200 million for the state's traffic-clogged roads.
"We are at a crossroads in this state in making a very major policy shift in taking general funding money away from education to pay for transportation," House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong said. "Are roads important? Of course they are! But we shouldn't be robbing school kids to pay for pavement."
A trio of moderate Republican legislators from Northern Virginia -- Dels. David B. Albo, Thomas Davis Rust and Joe T. May -- propose taxing out-of-state corporations, including law firms, computer programming companies and those that provide Web site design services. Most other states, including Maryland, already tax those corporations.
"I also want to point out an idea that came from the other side of this chamber, from Delegates Rust, Albo and May, to raise revenue for transportation without raising taxes on Virginians,'' Armstrong said. "That is the kind of idea we should be exploring instead of taking money out of classrooms to pay for roads in other parts of the state."
"We're piling on. When you add this proposal to other actions we've taken to reduce state aid to localities, you end up in a situation where our localities will be hamstrung to pay for priorities like K-12 education," Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) said of McDonnell's proposal. "In doing so, we will end up leaving some localities behind at a time when they are struggling to provide the services like education, public safety and mental health on which millions of Virginians depend."
| January 19, 2011; 6:22 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell
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