what has to be the most desperate reach for
political relevance in recent memory, the House
Republican leadership on Wednesday rolled out… (drumroll,
please)… the car tax issue!
not making this up
one is the policy equivalent of a blow-up doll.
Let’s call her "Gilmore’s
Ghost." What’s she look like?
Well, that depends on the lighting.
Frightful, even scary, in the daylight.
Not bad in the dark.
A little long in the tooth, and so lame
she’s reduced now to crutches, still, a wig, a
little lipstick and... Whatayaknow!… Bill
Howell’s finally got an issue he can squire about
you’ve got to understand.
It’s been a long dry spell.
A man gets lonely.
no fun being made to sit in the corner in your own
no fun being boxed out in the Senate.
No fun being out maneuvered by a governor.
It’s no fun being sneered at by the
business community, which is your natural
the Speaker decided he’s just not going to be
kicked around anymore.
So he primped up this cutie and hopped her
out to face the press.
And, just for good measure, brought along
remember Callahan. Chairman
One of the breakaway Republicans who forced
passage of the $1.4 billion tax increase last
year—then backed away on the final vote.
Yeah, that Callahan.
historic budget agreement last year capped the car
tax cut—a slick, three-word campaign promise
Gilmore rode to the governor’s office, but later
was seen by many as a policy boondoggle responsible
for his political undoing—at a cost to the state
of $950 million annually—which, on average,
reimbursed local governments about 70 percent of
what the property tax would have been.
Car owners still pay the other 30 percent on
vehicle values in excess of $20,000.
proposal Callahan outlined Wednesday will phase out
this remaining 30 percent over a six-year period,
growth in state revenues permitting, and assuming
the full House and Senate go along—which they
least not the Senate.
If reaction signals from Senate Finance
Committee Chairman John Chichester are any
indication, then this one is… well… let’s just
say that he’s going to stick a hatpin in this one.
Maybe she goes quietly, maybe she squalls out
of the nearest window.
Either way, she goes, in my opinion.
of course, was delighted with the revival.
Gov. Mark R. Warner, on the other hand, was
cautious—at least publicly.
Privately, my guess would be, he was more
than a little chagrined at the prospect of another
protracted budget fight in this, his last year of
the House tax cut proposal came the same day the
Senate punted on transportation, unveiling a
proposal by Walter Stosch, R-Glen Allen, to begin a
top to bottom study of transportation—another in a
long line of studies—because of lack of any
appreciable source of new funding.
the scope of transportation in
? It is
Arlington and Henrico Counties (they tend to their
own) and excluding the federal stuff, it includes
57,082 state road miles, 13,869 miles of urban
streets, 12,603 bridges, 4 underwater crossings, 2
mountain tunnels, 3 toll roads, 1 toll bridge, 4
ferry services, 41 rest areas, 10 welcome centers,
107 commuter parking lots, 40 public transit
systems, 1 commuter rail, 1 interstate rail, 68
airports, a state port system in Hampton Roads and
in the Front Royal area, and a locally operated port
does it take to maintain and continuously upgrade a
system such as this? It
takes money. Lots
and lots of money.
we’ll come back to that fact.
We’ll be forced to face it.
But for the moment, a new doll has taken the
name is "Gilmore’s Ghost"’ and she’s