Open letter to Governor Bob McDonnell

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.

Former Supporter

  • Bob

    As a resident of (Northern)Virginia I also am disappointed by Gov.McDonnells action.The only sense I can make of these turn of events is that the position of Governor is limited to one term here in Virginia and while he doesn’t have much else,by leaving a legacy of “moderizing” the transportation system in this high growth area would accomplish that.There is no doubt in my mind his eye is on running for a future office and this would cement(he feels anyway)the changing and dominate Northern Virginia independent/liberal electorate.

    Unfortunatly this also hurts Mr.Cuccinelli’s chances of appearing to far to the right during his current Governor campaign.

  • Non Northern Virginia, has had control over the transportation purse strings for decades. There can be little dispute that NOVA has already sent out, more than it got back.

    The area specific taxes are insult to injury.

  • I’d be OK with a legacy of holding firm against growing the state government in an era when everything else is growing. The problem is that legacy won’t be written about in The Washington Post in a good light. Instead it would be that he “did nothing” as opposed to “doing something” despite how bad it is.

    Transportation has been too far down the priority list when making budgets for too long which has created the current mess. The Virginia budget has doubled in the past 10 years alone. Tell me we can’t fund transportation by killing off projects the state shouldn’t be involved in like liquor sales, etc…

    Now we in NoVA will be gouged so more tax dollars flow elsewhere. It is a very unjust way of doing things. Some citizens deserve higher taxation than others? Is that the answer?

    How different is this plan from the soak the rich mentality at the federal level? Obviously Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are the wealthiest areas of the state. Bob’s no different than a progressive liberal letting the rich pay a “fair share” which means pay the most to atone for being successful. It is sickening class warfare on the state level.

    I get more and more angry the more I delve into this… There was no greater champion of Bob McDonnell than I and I’m feeling betrayed.

  • Bob


    Let me be clear here I have no qualms with either of your statements.I’m simply trying to find a rational explanation for his actions.

  • Bob

    By saying “Bob’s no different than a progressive liberal….” I hope I can assume you are referring to Gov.McDonnell and not me?

  • Bob, now worries, I understood your message. I was trying to understand his actions also so I could feel like I wasn’t sold down the river by a turncoat.

    This is a huge net tax increase and there is no excuse for it. He was a preacher of small government, low taxation and he signs this?!?! We’re still under Obama’s recession and McDonnell’s ok with more taxes? On top of ObamaCare we’re all stuck with?

    I can’t understand it.. he completely failed, there is no rational for this particular bill. Other GOP senators and delegates has alternate plans that didn’t raise taxes yet could raise as much or more for transportation. Sure, they might not have passed the Senate but then so what? The people can decide at the ballot box..

    Sorry.. done with ranting.. my household has been stricken trying to digest this for the past few days..

  • “Nate;
    By saying “Bob’s no different than a progressive liberal….” I hope I can assume you are referring to Gov.McDonnell and not me?”

    Not you, Bob!! The other Bob, the one raising my taxes. Sorry for confusion..

  • Good letter. I’m living under Governor McDonnels leadership as well and I can’t say he’s done anything spectacular. Certainly not what I expected from him when I voted for him.