The Wall Street Journal and AFP weighs in on McDonnell’s transportation tax hike

The short version – they’re not happy: “Many states are grappling with road congestion and a scarcity of dollars for improvements. Let’s hope they aren’t tempted by the unfortunate financing plan released this month by Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.”

The longer version: they prefer the gas tax to a sales tax hike; they prefer congestion-pricing to the gas tax; they hate the Federally-dependent internet sales tax. Unfortunately, they’re not knowledgeable enough on Virginia policy to know about the state-funded subdivision road maintenance. Still, they make a nice point about the budget:

It’s especially unfortunate to see Mr. McDonnell take this tax turn in the last year of an otherwise successful tenure. One of his two Democratic predecessors passed a major tax increase that was supposed to ease gridlock but instead financed a new, higher general spending plateau. The state’s own audit commission reports that the budget swelled to $39 billion in 2011 from $23.5 billion in 2002, a 66% spending increase.

The editors also noted that about $300 million is slated for the Dulles Silver Line – which is, suffice to say, not particularly popular up there.

All in all, it’s good to see someone noticing that McDonnell’s plan is (a) a tax increase, and (b) a poor alternative to freeing up funds by reducing spending.

From a different perspective, Americans for Prosperity also commented on the plan. AFP was more favorable in general, but as Shaun Kenney noted on BD, they’re insisting on revenue neutrality (i.e., make sure it’s not a tax increase). Good for them.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

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