Bill Bolling on Taxes and Transportation

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling sees no need for a broad-based tax increase this year, for transportation or anything else. He believes that making VDOT more efficient and aligning transportation with land use planning will do wonders for Virginia’s ailing road system.

“We just need to exercise some fiscal discipline,” he told a dozen or more bloggers in a conference call arranged by Norm Leahy of One Man’s Trash fame, with technical assistance from the Virginia Institute for Public Policy. “When we’ve got economic growth sufficient to support a 19 percent increase in spending, it’s unfathomable that folks are calling for a tax increase.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Bolling also believes the way out of the General Assembly’s budget gridlock is to set aside contentious transportation-tax issues for the moment and “agree on those areas where agreement can be reached.”

The differences between the House and Senate on the budget are “very small” in every area but transportation, Bolling said. “The differences between the Senate budget and the House budget are … very easily resolved. … Let’s not hold other sections of the budget hostage.”

Tax-hike hardliners in the Senate expect the budget gridlock, which could lead to a government shut down if unresolved by the end of the fiscal year, to panic members of the House into making concessions. Their calculation, the Lt. Governor said, is that “the closer you get to the deadline, members of the House will start peeling off in their opposition to higher taxes.” That won’t happen, he added. “In fact, I see the opposite of that happening.” Based on his conversations with individual senators, he thinks the Senate could accept his preference to set the transportation issue aside for later.

Buttressing that line of argument, Bolling noted, is the fact that the House and Senate aren’t as far apart on the transportation issue as commonly portrayed. Both parties would funnel General Fund budget surpluses to transportation, increase taxes on automobile insurance premiums, and bump up motorist “abuser” fees. “Rather than play brinksmanship with the rest of the budget, let’s agree upon what we can agree upon.”

In the wide-ranging blog conference, Bolling commented on a number of hot issues, from illegal immigration to educational vouchers. Read the take of these other bloggers: Elephant Ears, Too Conservative, Kilo, Nova Townhall, CatHouse Chat, Virginia Virtucon, Spank That Donkey, From On High.


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8 responses to “Bill Bolling on Taxes and Transportation”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I don’t agree with Bolling most of the time since I perceive him to be a “hard right” guy.

    But he’s right in my opinion.

    You go forward on what you can agree on and do not hold hostage the rest that you do agree on especially when the “rest” is the entire budget for the Commonwealth and it directly affects every citizen because localities cannot finalize their own budgets and setting their own tax rates until they know what the state will do.

    And .. he’s got the essence of the basics with respect to transportation in my view.

    It boils down to whether increasing taxes is the only and best answer to respond to the State’s transportation dilemma.

    It is a BIG Issue that is both wide and deep in a comprehensive fashion.

    Does the way that VDOT does business need to be changed.

    IS the way that VDOT does business THE problem?

    If so.. what specifically should be done with VDOT?

    Should all new construction projects be design-build and/or PPTA and VDOT assume the role of contract monitor for maintenance?

    Should Regional Authorities be created to not only determine transportation priorities but also decide how to raise revenue?

    Should the state continue to tax all citizens and then use an arbitrary distribution formula for allocating the proceeds to localities where there WILL BE
    winners and losers?

    Is PPTA and toll roads the way forward?

    Do PPTAs play a role in how excess toll receipts will be spent?

    If not them.. then WHO.. VDOT, the CTB, Regional Authorities,
    ‘unelected’ … or only elected?

    that’s a few for starters…

    I don’t think all of this is going to be worked out by a half-dozen poobahs in Richmond chewing fat for a few hours at a time before they’re off to other things….
    like Press Conferences blaming their fellow poobahs for behaving badly.

  2. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    Do We Need It All? by Geoffrey F. Segal https://www.baconsrebellion.com/Issues06/04-03/Segal.php
    asked many of the right questions. The view from California does not provide Virginia answers, but the questions are universal.

    Raising taxes to fund the wrong projects is not the answer. First we need to define “right” projects.

    Larry has a good question list which I will answer:
    “Does the way that VDOT does business need to be changed?” Yes

    “IS the way that VDOT does business THE problem?” Yes

    “If so.. what specifically should be done with VDOT?

    Should … VDOT assume the role of contract monitor for maintenance?

    Should Regional Authorities be created to not only determine transportation priorities but also decide how to raise revenue?”
    Maybe

    “Should the state continue to tax all citizens and then use an arbitrary distribution formula for allocating the proceeds to localities where there WILL BE
    winners and losers?” No

    “If not them.. then WHO.. VDOT, the CTB, Regional Authorities,
    ‘unelected’ … or only elected?” WHO doesn’t matter until the WHAT is solved.

    WHAT should the transportation dollar do? Increase congestion?
    Spend money in depressed regions? Increase spending on gasoline by increasing travel or “mobility”? My preference is to increase “accesability.” Can we put WHAT on the table?

  3. Romeocat Avatar

    Hey, Jim! Thanks for your post on the Q&A last night. I like doing it this way – each of us posting on our particular questions – because I feel like I don’t miss anything. (The first half of the teleconference, I was going crazy trying to take notes, LOL).

    Anyway, my post is here. I have you linked, but am unable to trackback.

    Thanks again for your participation; it was a great call!

    — R’cat
    CatHouseChat.com

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    R’cat, nice summary of Bolling’s stance on education and vouchers. I would have added something on that topic if I’d had time… which I didn’t. This team blogging thing works pretty well.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    What is this with unelected Regional taxing authorities? The voters have said, “No!” twice at the polls (3 times if you include Jerry Kilgore’s defeat). What part of ‘no’ do you not understand?

  6. NOVA Scout Avatar
    NOVA Scout

    JAB: While I have qualms about these regional authorities for the same reasons you do, the answer to your question is clear. These approaches come up because Richmond is ineffectual and incompetent. If the GA were dealing with the issues in a timely and effective manner, there would be no talk at all about regional taxing flexibility. Whatever the merits/demerits of the 2002 proposal for Northern Virginia, the projects that could have been financed by a NoVA regional approach now will cost far in excess of their originally projected price simply because of delay. I think up here, at least, a lot of people who voted against that referendum are beginning to think it would have been a preferable evil (as may of its proponents contended).

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    NoVa: So the lack of leadership of Republican senators that keeps them from funding the plans for what the Commonwealth can afford – like the Third Crossing in Hampton Roads – bleeds over into the incompetence of continually proposing a managing and taxing authority the voters keep rejecting?

  8. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    JAB: Sorry – I’m having trouble following your question. I’m not sure what the links are between the Senate and the 3rd Crossing issue and I wasn’t referencing that. My point was more general and directed at both houses of the GA. Which is that the longer they engage in meaningless posturing without delivering the goods on transport in Northern Virginia and other parts of the state (including Hampton Roads), the more these ideas for other structures will proliferate.

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