Dear Governor McDonnell,
As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia who wholeheartedly campaigned for you in 2009 and have spoken highly of you for the past three years, I can only sum up my feelings now as complete disappointment. I was watching in 2009 as you spoke ill of tax increases and out-of-control spending in Richmond. I watched as you derided the federal government’s spending woes and pledged to bring Virginia’s books in order without raising a dime of taxes on citizens. To these efforts and sentiments, I could only applaud and cheer that someone in government was vowing to put my wallet first and foremost over the expansion of government.
Now, as I read more and more about the so-called transportation comprise bill you intend to sign, I am wondering why it was so easy and so expedient for you to abandon your principles and renege on your campaign promise of not raising taxes. Sure, you’re not the first politician to abandon campaign promises, but why would you want to be like every other weasel politician who says anything to get elected, then does whatever they can to receive praise from The Washington Post.
True, this doesn’t increase my personal state income tax. Maybe that is how you’re rationalizing it in your own head as a way to avoid feeling like you’re empowering government while taking money from my budget. On the other hand, your new range of tax increases is something I’ll feel nearly everyday since my state income tax is rising a full percentage point in Northern Virginia. This will make items I purchase on a weekly basis, such as diapers, all that more expensive in my budget.
Among the increased sales tax and the increased car tax, there is also a brand new wholesale gasoline tax of 3.5%. I know, you’re eliminating the gasoline tax of 17 cents per gallon and simply replacing it with the wholesale tax which is just passed on to consumers instead of being paid directly by them. This slight of hand is something we witness in the walls of Congress on a weekly basis, I had higher expectations for your administration in Richmond.
Americans for Tax Reform broke down all the tax increases contained in your bill:
- Diesel tax hike from 17.5 cents per gallon to 6 percent tax on wholesale diesel, roughly a 5 cent per gallon increase
- Sales tax hike from 5 to 5.3 percent
- Additional sales tax hike of .7 percent in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia
- 3 percent Northern Virginia hotel tax
- Car tax hike from 3 percent to 4 percent in 2013, 4.1 percent in 2014, 4.2 percent in 2015, and 4.3 percent in 2016
- If Congress rejects the federal internet tax scheme, the tax on wholesale gasoline in 2015 will increase from 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent, without a provision to revert back if the law were to pass after 2015
What I find strikingly familiar is that, similar to President Obama’s destined-for-bankruptcy health care overhaul, your plan phases in the invasion of my wallet over a series of years on the car tax so as to not arouse too much disgust from constituents. It seems that you’re learning from the President how to enact tax increases and still have cover to claim that it really isn’t that bad.
Finally, Governor, I wonder if you’ve taken the time to let it sink where the praise for your plan is coming from. If the plan is some victory for conservatism, a laughable premise, then why are people like former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and current Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe in support of it? Did they suddenly decide to throw in with Republicans and advance conservatism? I sincerely doubt it. Another faction which has been no friend of yours is The Washington Post which called the plan a “victory” for you. May I ask why an organization which tried to destroy your candidacy in 2009 over your college thesis now suddenly lauds your accomplishments? On the other hand, conservative media outlets, such as National Review, call the plan “a bad deal.”
In closing, I simply want you to know how disappointed and disgusted I am as a supporter of yours to watch you give-in so gleefully and sign the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history. The total will be over $6.1 billion in new taxes from your pen. Where is the conservatism in that? Back in the real world, we call that being a tax-and-spend liberal who raids the wallets of taxpayers instead of raiding the current budget. You sir have back-stabbed each and every one of us who supported you in 2009 because you pledged specifically that you would not sign or support anything resembling what you just supported and intend to sign. As for the 2016 Presidential aspirations you may have, I hope they can be considered toast at this point along with other aspirations for higher office. I can only hope conservatives will not be fooled twice by your words when we now see the culmination of your big-government actions.