Category Archives: Taxes

Read It and Weep – DEI at UVa

Navy helicopter overflies UVa Disharoon Park as team stands at attention for national anthem. Photos By Sanjay Suchak,

by James C. Sherlock

Kerry Daugherty’s column this morning was heart-wrenching for anyone who cares at all about kids’ educations.  The Norfolk School Board voted 6-1…

to begin teaching gender ideology, masturbation, sexual identity, homosexuality, abortion and lesbianism in middle and high schools.

To kids who cannot read or perform mathematics at grade level.

Now we get a look at what awaits any kid who escapes Norfolk public schools with sufficient skills and diversity credits to get accepted into the University of Virginia (UVa).

They will be welcomed by a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy so large, powerful and widely distributed that a DEI factotum will:

  • review and grade their application in the recruitment process;
  • exercise authority over the curriculum and faculty;
  • monitor their progress; and
  • interview each candidate for graduate school and meet with each annually to assess political views.

If I just told you how this works as above, you would think I was making it up.

So I will quote from UVa’s website. Continue reading

As U.S. Teeters On the Brink of Recession, Virginia Beach Hikes Taxes

Clouds gather over Va Beach. (Bob Rayner)

by Kerry Dougherty

Do you mind if I’m brutally honest for a minute? Good. Because there’s no stopping me today.

Any member of the Virginia Beach City Council majority who voted Tuesday to approve an obscene $2.5 billion budget as the country teeters on the edge of a recession is a liar if they try to tell you they didn’t raise taxes.

I mean it. Join me in calling them LIARS.

While it’s true these politicians left the tax RATE alone, assessments jumped an average of 9%, with some of us seeing much sharper increases.

That means almost every homeowner in Virginia Beach just got a big fat tax hike. Combine that with an inflation rate of about 5%and the average working family trying to stay above water in the resort city is drowning.
Continue reading

Gas Taxes, EV Fees Will Rise Again July 1

Add the retail tax and storage tank fee in the first table to the wholesale tax in the second table to get the total tax per gallon.  Click for larger view.

by Steve Haner

Virginia motor fuel taxes will rise again July 1, to just over 39 cents per gallon on gasoline and just over 40 cents per gallon on diesel. This will be the second automatic increase in gas taxes since the 2020 General Assembly voted to index the gas tax to inflation. Continue reading

Sens. Warner, Kaine Visit Roanoke To Tout New Bridge But City Council In The Dark About Scope of Project

by Scott Dreyer

On a picture-perfect April 12 with a backdrop of the sparkling Roanoke River and dogwoods and redbuds in bloom, Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner (D) and Senator Tim Kaine (D) visited the Roanoke Greenway at Roanoke City’s Smith Park.

The occasion was for the two senators to present a cardboard poster representing a check to Roanoke City for $2.5 million for the replacement of the low water bridge on the popular Greenway just a few yards downstream from Smith Park. The senators stated the funds came from the roughly $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

An email invitation from the City to reporters claimed the new, higher bridge will not only allow kayakers to travel under the bridge unimpeded (at low water levels) but also help the endangered Roanoke logperch swim up and downstream more easily.
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RGGI Repeal Debate Rages on Comment Portal

The states currently in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative tax compact.

by Steve Haner

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board is continuing through the necessary steps to repeal Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional compact that imposes an allowance cost (carbon tax) on fossil fuels used in generating electricity.

During 2021 and 2022, the tax collected about half a billion dollars from power producers, most if not all of that cost passed on to customers. Almost 70 percent of the allowances for 2021 were used by Dominion Energy Virginia, which is in the process of adding that cost back to its monthly customer bills. The next allowance auction, number nine for Virginia, is March 8. Continue reading

In Virginia Beach: Hang On to Your Wallets

by Kerry Dougherty

How to ruin an otherwise lovely early spring-like weekend, Virginia Beach-style:

Send out real estate assessments that show double-digit increase in the value of property (that’s a good thing, by the way) and a huge jump in taxes.

That’s not good.

Yep, many of us opened our mail on Saturday and wished we hadn’t.

While it’s nice that the city assessor believes property values are soaring, we all know what that means: the city council will quietly vote to “keep” the tax rate the same as last year and the year before, and then pat themselves on the back, crowing:


Ahem. Yes they did. They do it every year, just a little sleight of hand.

Let me explain: if your assessment rose 20% – as mine did – and the council votes to keep the rate at 99 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value rather than cutting it to a rate that would keep revenue about where it was last year – your taxes are going up.

A lot!

Look, rising assessments are a good thing. For most of us, our homes are our biggest assets. No one wants their asset to lose value.

If your stocks go up but you leave your money in the stock market, you aren’t taxed on unrealized gains. You’re taxed when you sell shares.

But when assessments skyrocket and you stay in your home, you’re being taxed on your “wealth.” In the parlance of the world of finance, you’re paying taxes on unrealized capital gains. Continue reading

Richmond’s Skinny Budget: Low Stakes Poker, High Stakes Rhetoric

by Shaun Kenney

Virginia’s General Assembly managed to pass the Richmond equivalent of a continuing resolution to fund the government until Senate Democrats and House Republicans can hammer out a compromise on corporate tax breaks.

One will have to pardon me for not getting terribly wound up about tax breaks for corporations while small businesses and working families are struggling with back-to-back  years of 9 percent inflation from Washington.

Meanwhile, much of the damage done by the Northam administration with regard to Critical Race Theory, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) requirements, gender ideology, and the long litany of progressive efforts to remake Virginia were left both untouched and unchallenged.

Even school choice — the marquee legislation championed by Lt. Governor Winsome Sears — was left to die in committee.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are promising a “brick wall” against House Republicans until they get what they want — in other words, reneging on the pledge from conferees to honor a $950 million tax cut. The stopgap fixes the $200 million shortfall snafu created by the Virginia Department of Education’s spreadsheet, puts another $25 million into the Virginia Retirement System, and another $100 million towards cost overruns for existing building infrastructure. What mystifies most is that the Senate Democrats haven’t been precisely clear on what they want beyond platitudes for higher salaries for bureaucrats, public education, higher education, etc. Continue reading

Focus on the Standard Deduction, QBI Deduction

We tried to tell everyone. Indexing the tax code for inflation is wildly popular, but it’s not in the pending package.

We have seen this before in Virginia and here we go again: the classic conflict between tax cuts for the many versus more government spending for a few.

The Republican-dominated House of Delegates has passed a series of broad tax reductions, while the Democratic-dominated Virginia Senate has killed its versions of the same bills.  Last Sunday the Senate then produced a budget proposal about $1 billion richer in funds for education, mental health services and other poll-tested priorities.

Killing the tax bills creates even more revenue to spend in future years, billions more. Continue reading

Will McDonald’s Be Leaving Virginia? Not This year, But…

by Chris Saxman

I wish the headline of today’s column was just click bait. It originates from a headline that was pushed across my phone that read “Will McDonald’s be leaving California?”

That immediately made me think that McDonald’s corporate offices might be considering moving their headquarters from California to another state. Given the exodus of companies that have left the Golden State it would be just another news story about another company leaving California.

Quickly remembering that McDonald’s was based in Chicago, not California, I clicked on the article. The president of McDonald’s USA, John Erlinger, had written an open letter dated January 25th in which he lamented the legislative and regulatory reality of California:

Last fall, the legislature passed a bill – AB257, or the FAST Act – almost entirely at the behest of organized labor’s firm grip on many of the state’s lawmakers. It makes it all but impossible to run small business restaurants, but the impacts are far beyond that. Under the FAST Act, an unelected council of political insiders, not local business owners and their teams, would make big decisions about crucial elements of running a business, fracturing the economy in the process. [Emphasis added.]

Continue reading

Dominion Seeks Return of RGGI Tax to Its Bills

The states currently in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative CO2 emissions compact.

by Steve Haner

The on again, off again, direct tax on Dominion Energy Virginia bills to pay for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) may be on again. If you feel like you are watching a shell game and just cannot find the pea, that is intentional.

In its sales pitch for its latest effort to create a more favorable regulatory environment, Dominion Energy Virginia is touting its proposal to take several of its existing stand-alone rate adjustment charges (RACs) and roll them into its base rates. The claim is that will save ratepayers $350 million. Continue reading

Five Reasons the Assembly Should Cut Taxes

By Barbara Hollingsworth

Last week, the Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates passed a $1 billion package of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, the centerpiece of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s economic agenda. But Democrats, who have a 22-18 majority in the state Senate, have a laundry list of policies and programs they would prefer to spend the surplus money on rather than return it to taxpayers.

Tax policy is a non-partisan issue that has real-world economic consequences, especially when it comes to taxes on business income. Here are five reasons why the state Senate should follow the House’s lead and pass the governor’s entire tax relief package, including reduction of the commonwealth’s corporate income tax rate.

There’s a very large budget surplus.

In fact, Virginia is sitting on a record budget surplus of $3.6 billion, which is revenue collected from businesses and individual taxpayers in excess of the needs and priorities state legislators have already identified and fully funded during the 2022-2024 biennial budget process. It’s disingenuous to suggest that Virginia “can’t afford” to return at least part of that surplus to taxpayers. Continue reading

New Youngkin Tax Cuts Total $7 Billion By 2028

Governor Youngkin’s major tax proposals and how much they save taxpayers. Source: Secretary of Finance. Click for larger view.

by Steve Haner

The set of Virginia tax changes Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has baked into his proposed 2023 budget amendments is far more extensive and involves substantially more tax relief than the descriptions he offered in his December 15 presentation. Continue reading

Youngkin Delivers Early Christmas Gift

by Barbara Hollingsworth

(This column was first published by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.)

Virginians received an early Christmas present this year. For four years, the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy has been strongly urging state officials in Virginia to lighten what has become a steadily increasing tax burden on residents and businesses in the commonwealth by enacting tax cuts and tax reform.

On December 15, during his appearance before the joint Senate and House of Delegates Finance and Appropriations Committees, Governor Glenn Youngkin took bold steps to do just that. The governor announced his plan to “accelerate” the state government’s transformation based on what he said was “driving better outcomes for less money.”

In his budget amendments to the 2022-2024 biennial state budget delivered to the General Assembly’s “money committees,” Youngkin proposed cutting taxes on Virginians by a billion dollars – in addition to the $4 billion tax relief bill he signed earlier this year.

Youngkin told legislators that the state, which is running a large surplus, can afford the tax cuts despite his acknowledgement that a national recession is looming. “Our carefully planned budget balances spending priorities and tax cuts, with roughly $1 billion … conditioned on meeting our 2023 revenue forecast,” Youngkin told state lawmakers.

The governor wants to “finish the job of doubling the standard deduction” for state income tax filers, a long-time policy objective of the TJIPP. He also wants to reduce the individual income tax rate for the highest income bracket to 5.5% and eliminate state income taxes on military retirement pay. Youngkin said that these individual income tax reductions will save Virginians $700 million per year.

Under the governor’s plan, the corporate income tax rate for businesses would also be reduced from 6% to 5%, “the first step toward the ultimate goal of 4 percent at the end of our administration.” For small businesses, Youngkin is proposing a 10% Qualified Business Income Deduction. These measures, if approved by the General Assembly, would total $450 million in business tax relief annually. Continue reading

RGGI Tax, On Path to Repeal, Reaches $524 Million

Virginia’s two year take of carbon taxes under RGGI. RGGI table.

by Steve Haner

First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

The tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by Virginia electricity plants dropped to below $13 a ton in the most recent sale of CO2 allowances conducted by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). That meant Virginia collected only $71 million in tax revenue for the fourth quarter, the lowest amount of the four auctions in 2022. Continue reading

JLARC Agrees: Index Virginia Taxes to Inflation

by Barbara Hollingsworth

Inflation is eroding the value of each dollar earned by Virginians, making it harder for them to afford decent housing, put food on the table and educate their children. But what many Virginians don’t know is that they have also been paying more in state income taxes while their real income has declined because the commonwealth’s tax code is not indexed to inflation.

A new report by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) points out that state income taxes in the commonwealth “have far outpaced median income, because income brackets have not been changed since 1990.”

Thanks to inflation, state income taxes owed by a median filer have increased 173% since 1990, while that same taxpayer’s actual income increased only 108%. Continue reading