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Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 01/19/2011

House Democrats criticize McDonnell proposal; praise Republican legislative plan

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

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."

By Anita Kumar  | January 19, 2011; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Excellent video from State Legislature. Thanks.

Over at our Independent Green Party News blog tonight
1. Three Indy Green women launch local Fairfax County petition drives
2. Green Party's Pat LaMarche going to Georgia to advocate for homeless
3. Germany's Bavarian Green Party climbs to 2nd most popular political party at 20 per cent..

Posted by: CareyCampbell | January 19, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

One of Virginia’s most pressing problems is our crumbling infrastructure. According to current estimates, Virginia needs to invest $1 billion per year to address our transportation needs.

I think that we could have avoided some of this mess if we had made better decisions at the outset. To my understanding, decision-makers are only presented with the upfront construction costs of the projects they are considering. This is short-sighted. We all know that infrastructure has ongoing maintenance costs associated with it, but these costs are not considered. This often leaves us with projects that made with cheaper construction materials, but that end up costing us more down the road to maintain.

I would argue that decision-makers should be presented with the upfront construction costs and the longer term operational and maintenance costs at the beginning when the decision is being made. This would lead to more fiscally responsible decisions and save taxpayers’ dollars. I believe that this concept could easily garner bipartisan support as it doesn’t rely on debt, new taxes, or taking resources from the general fund.

Posted by: RichmondActivist | January 20, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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