Pardon Me While I Gloat

Looks like Senators John Chichester, R-Northumberland, and Russell Potts, R-Winchester, got their derrieres handed to them. I don’t know who said what to whom, but Potts moved earlier today to kill his own bill — the one that the Axis of Taxes in the state Senate had used to derail the GOP transportation package.

Judging by the press releases and more informal feedback that I’ve received, a lot of people must have been highly ticked off — not just the rank and file, but the Republican senators like Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who’d labored to craft a compromise with the House of Delegates. Chichester and Potts must have realized just how alone they were.

This is great theater. This is what the capitol press corps lives for. I’m really looking forward to reading the treatment of the story in tomorrow’s newspapers.

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27 responses to “Pardon Me While I Gloat”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Schapiro will have something similar to ‘Republicans backed away from a proposed gas tax, prefering to fund transportation at the expense of schools, safety, and a third sacred cow.’

    Hopefully, I’ll be wrong.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Dang.. Rodger is going to be beside himself… 🙂

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    dear larry gross:

    politicians make bad decisions
    reguarly …i am anything but
    beside myself …


    rodger provo

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Fat Lady isn’t even in the theater yet, let alone warming up to sign. I wouldn’t gloat just yet Jimbo.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    All right, the “anti-tax” “we can fix road without taxes” crowd in the House just approved today a bill that imposes a sales tax on services (auto repairs), huge increases in real estate transfer taxes, another one percent titling tax, a commercial-only real estate tax surcharge that blows the hell out of the once-valued constitutional protection of uniform taxation, and some really obnoxious licensing fee hikes (up to $100) that will cost people just as much — and in some cases more — than a modest gas tax hike. I mean really, talk about your RINOs. They have lost all credibility — they have fallen into the trap and not one of them dares to go home and brag they opposed taxes. Oh, but not the gas tax — that is their saving line — we didn’t raise the gas tax! Money is money (and on that commercial RE tax, don’t kid yourself — business just collect taxes through prices — people pay.)

  6. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    7:45 The uniform taxation is not quite uniform. If a commercial building produces less rent, its real estate taxes will go down regardless of the value of the property. On the other hand, if an individual’s income goes down (which it does for many people from time to time), there is no comparable decrease in real estate taxes. The value of the property governs. Factoring income into the equation for some, but not all, property owners does not sound like equal taxation, except, perhaps, under the Good Old Boy standards of Virginia.

    Also, we normally see commercial property owners in the van of advocacy for higher taxes and fees, especially those related to transportation funding. Shouldn’t those who advocate higher taxes and fees be first in line to pay them?

    Also, imposing fees for transportation on commercial property owners is consistent with Ramsey Pricing theory, at least in Tidewater and NoVA. Both locations are near sources of federal spending. Many businesses want to be near the federal trough. Thus, the demand curve for commercial real estate in these locations is probabaly less elastic than in other areas of Virginia. If the government needs to raise revenues, placing a tax or fee on property, goods or services with relatively inelastic demand will raise more money, according to Ramsey’s theory. Isn’t that what you wanted? More revenue for transportation?

    On the other hand, not taxing commercial property in these two locations at higher rates sends improper price signals to the market. Today, by not imposing additional transportation-related fees or taxes on commercial real estate in NoVA and Tidewater, we improperly discourage job growth near where many workers live — outside NoVA and Tidewater.

    Since there are more jobs than workers in these locations, we need to build roads and transit to bring people (who don’t live in the same area) to and from these locations. Obviously, that additional demand for transportation resources imposes substantially higher costs on Virginia. It seems only reasonable to collect reimbursement for those costs from the cost causers. By hiking the cost of operating commercial real estate in Tidewater and NoVA, rents may increase as well. That will send a market signal for more businesses to locate outside these two areas, which, in turn, decreases the demand for even more transportation resources in these two markets.

    There are many good economic and equitable reasons to impose substantially higher fees on commericial real estate in NoVA and Tidewater.

    It’s probably the most sensible thing proposed by the General Assembly in many years.

  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    TMT’s view is interesting.. still digesting…but assignment of transportation costs to businesses for their “share” not radical…

    What’s the Bottom Line for NoVA and TW with the HD Plan?

    How much new money will each Region Get from the basic plan?
    (not the Regional Elements)

    Also, I assume the Regional elements have to be approved by Referenda – correct?

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon:

    While you gloat in this posting, the residents of the greater Fredericksburg area (PDC 16)that
    includes that small city and four
    surrounding counties continue to
    struggle with some of the fastest
    growth in the country and state and
    one of the worst traffic jams in

    Their delegation to the House of
    Delegates are doing little to help
    them with these problems.

    One local businessman, who knows
    all of our delegates well, told me
    recently, “Bill and Cessie no longer have an interest in our little community, their definition
    of what is best for the community
    means what they view as best for the Virginia Republican Party, which is what they consider to be
    their community.”

    The so-called compromise transportation plan
    now before the General Assembly
    created by 7 members in secret
    meetings in a posh downtown hotel
    is loaded with additional taxes
    Virginia taxpayers will pay while
    now levying additional, meaningful
    taxes on the 40% of the traveling
    public and trucking industry using
    our interstates that are not state
    generated traffic, but from out of

    Yesterday, a Fredericksburg
    resident circulated an e-mail about
    how our delegate has gotten tens of
    thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from beer and wine wholesales from around the state and New England. That truck intense business nationally opposes increasing fuel taxes that they consider adverse to their

    Nothing in the planning and tax
    package in the so-called compromise transportation plan
    will help the Federicksburg region which has nothing to gloat about.


    Rodger Provo

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Readers:

    House of Delegates Speaker
    William J. Howell, R-Stafford
    County, represents the City
    of Fredericksburg in the
    General Assembly’s lower


    Rodger Provo

  10. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Please listen to this broken record again…does the new ‘compromise’ still have the same lame projects for Tidewater (HR) that do NOT reduce congestion? Still have new regional taxes? Still have unelected unaccountable Regional Government?

    The three poison pills need to be taken out of any ‘compromise’ or it is just a political joke (I agree that it is good political theater) and a compromise of Republican principles that will cost the RPV dearly.

  11. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I sorta agree with Rodger.

    The HD Plan is something to be proud of?

    What problem will it solve/make progress on?

    But I disagree with Rodger on what the Dem plan would do either.

    A 10cent increase in the gas tax would produce another 500 million a year that would in all likelihood result in perhaps 30 million dollars a year more for the Fredericksburg Area.

    It takes 10 million to build one mile of minor arterial in a rural area with cheap right of way.

    Yet advocates of this approach don’t want to be bothered with the “facts”.

    They’re holding on to a transportation policy that FAILED and is now in a Zombie state and yet they continue to urge for higher taxes thinking apparently that any money is better and that it can be used to “chip” away at the problem.

    This is NOT a solution so those who advocate a higher-tax approach in my view should have no more pride that those who “gloat” about the failure of it.. leaving an HD plan that has been described by supporters as an “abortion”.

    What is truly revealng.. and Rodger touched on it… is that where are the needs of the customer – you know the taxpayer and victim of congestion being addressed?

    At the end of the day…

    this time next year, this time in 2009 and 2010 what will change “on the ground” for the travelling public in Virginia?

    Well.. one thing for sure .. 2010.. is about the point where road maintenance needs will consume virtually all the gas tax revenues in Va.

    Then what?

    and lets not bank on the GA too much… the public is probably just as divided as they are – right?

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Readers:

    Please note in the earlier posting
    that there is a typo ….”now levying additional, meaningful
    taxes on the 40%….” should have read….”not levying additional, meaningful taxes on the 40% ….”

    I would also submit to Jim Bacon
    that Virginia has nothing to gloat
    about relative to the standing of
    this matter.

    Jim, go back read Pat McSweeney’s
    column in the current addition of
    Bacon’s Rebellion.

    Your supporting the so-called compromise plan that is harmful to Virginia’s financial future.


    Rodger Provo

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Readers:

    The cold weather is impacting my
    typing please note in the previous
    posting …

    “Jim, go back and read Pat McSweeney’s column in the current
    edition (not addition) of Bacon’s Rebellion.”


    Rodger Provo

  14. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Rodger, maybe if I type in real big letters with extra space in between the words, you will understand what I have stated consistently and repeatedly in this blog. Please read slowly so you don’t miss anything: I DO NOT, NOT, NOT, EMPHASIS, NOT SUPPORT THE GOP COMPROMISE PACKAGE. ITS MIX OF REVENUE SOURCES ARE AN ABOMINATION. THE PROPOSED GOP TAXES WOULD SUBSIDIZE THOSE WHO DRIVE THE MOST AT THE EXPENSE OF THOSE WHO DRIVE THE LEAST. IT THEY WOULD MAKE THINGS WORSE, NOT BETTER.

    I do think that the GOP compromise has several virtues: It would increase taxes less than competing proposals, and it would make a stab at reforming VDOT and land use. However, those virtues are insufficient to recommend the package when tied to the revenue sources it relies upon.

    I gloat because the Chichester plan was equally bad, if not worse. If you have to increase taxes, we should increase the gas tax. Trouble is, Chichester offered the wrong justification for it. He prefers the gas tax simply as a tactic to avoid taking money out of the General Fund. For him, it’s just a way to raise more money. Chichester is never quoted as justifying the gas tax on the basis of a user-pays principle. Chichester, in a word, would support Business As Usual to an even greater degree than would the COP compromise proposal.

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon:

    Why then did you do a posting
    titled “Pardon Me While I Gloat”?

    It seems to me you are interested more in the fight than solutions.

    I think you are living in an unreal world to think that our
    problems are going to be resolved
    without adequate funds to do the

    Nor are going to get this job done
    by continuing fighting beween the
    various forces in Virginia with a
    vested interest in our growth and
    transportation issues.


    Rodger Provo

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon:

    Please note last paragraph should

    “Nor are we going to get this job
    done by continuing fighting between
    the various forces in Virginia with
    a vested interest in our growth and
    transportation issues.”


    Rodger Provo

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Jeeeeez…. JB

    You SUPPORT the gas tax but you’re opposed to the plan because someone did not SAY the reason?

    I think you’ve painted yourself into a corner on this one.

    If you support an increase in the gas tax .. what is it about the Dems PLAN (not their words or lack of words that describe it) that makes it NOT worth supporting?

    I think Rodger is getting close on this…. does one support the party no matter what or do they support a plan regardless of which side it came from?

    As far as I am concerned.. this is why I favor dismantling the two-party system.

    They DO NOT work for the needs of taxpayers… They work for lobby folk and their own party’s cause.

    The best thing to do in the absence of doing away with the two parties is to vote the incumbents out no matter which side – on the basic premise that the worst thing for taxpayers are those elected who get “good at what they do”.

    get em out of there…

  18. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Larry, it’s not the gas tax I oppose, it’s increasing the gas tax without any offsetting tax cuts anywhere else. Here is where I strongly agree with the low-tax wing of the GOP: It is unforgiveable to increase the overall tax burden on citizens during a period of strong economic growth an chronic budget surpluses.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Dear Jim Bacon:

    Larry Gross has it right …. what
    the political parties are doing in
    this debate has no connection to
    finding good solutions for our major growth and transportation
    problems … in contrast what former Gov. Mark Warner sought to
    achieve in the 2004 budget deal.

    The flaw in your case about the
    budget is that given our continued
    growth public education, colleges and universities, penal system, parks, health care system, elderly
    programs, etc. are going to have to
    run hard to keep up with the demands they are faced.

    It is morally wrong to set up a
    budget that might force us to gut
    those programs to fund the debt
    service for the $2 billion bond
    package now on the table as a part
    of the so-called compromise plan to
    deal with our transportation problems now in the General Asembly.


    Rodger Provo

  20. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Rodger, It is “morally wrong” to increase taxes when the current budget is 20 percent bigger than the previous budget — and still running a chronic surplus. What programs would be “gutted” if some 2 percent of the General Fund revenue stream were diverted to transportation? Do you consider an 18 percent biennial budget increase instead of a 20 percent budget increase to be equivalent to “gutting” a program?

  21. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    JB is right…on the overall.. in my view.

    It IS wrong to continue to RAISE taxes except for inflation.

    We should NOT be growing programs by appropriating taxes from people especially when the decisionmakers are business and self-absorbed legislators.

    Congress has a concept called “paygo”. Supposedly Virginia requires each bill to have a fiscal impact analysis.

    The budget philosophy should be that taxes will not go up except for inflation.

    GROWTH means new people who also pay taxes so growth does not justify increases in taxes.

    We should NOT be “growing” programs whether they be Education or Transportation at the expense of taxpayers without consulting them.

    We actually do this with State Parks and other issues. Some think this means that legislators are evading their responsibilities.

    I say BALDERDASH. No one gave them the unfettered ability to arbitrarily raise taxes for the “good” of their constitutents especially when we know that the money will often NOT be spent effectively.

    That’s the problem with the gas tax. It will be spent (I believe squandered on ineffective purposes and wasteful projects) .. then after that money is all gone.. the same folks will come back and want even higher taxes for even more ineffective and wasteful projects.

    Every mile of road built – has to be maintained. Every new road built from the increase in gas taxes will ultimately take money away from the existing revenues and no money will remain for new projects unless taxes are raised again.

    State level roads should be handled by private enterprises whose motives will be to make money by providing what customers want rather than a corrupt process of putting business interests in charge of road and transportation decisions.

    Rodger – you offer no alternative to this – and only want more money. Why?

    I tweaked JB on what I thought was an inconsistency in his position
    and he still has one in my opinion.

    Yes.. he zagged on the paygo concept.. but he puts himself in a worse position of advocating “compensated” taxes to go for an unsustainable process that will only ensure that once they spend the current gas tax increase revenues.. that they’ll be back for more later.

    It’s the sustainable issue that troubles me the most.

    We should not have a budget philosophy that encourages ever increasing taxes for roads.. EVEN if we actually cut other services to compenstate because eventually core services will come onto that same chopping block.

    Which is … TADA – the DEMS stated concerns… that still have not been addressed by those who advocate an increase in the gas tax.

  22. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “If a commercial building produces less rent, its real estate taxes will go down regardless of the value of the property. On the other hand, if an individual’s income goes down (which it does for many people from time to time), there is no comparable decrease in real estate taxes. The value of the property governs.”

    Excellent. For every tax or user fee there needs to be some connection to ability to pay. Otherwise the only possible result is eventual confiscation.

    Consider a group home or apartment occupied by a number of foreign workers (legal or not). Would you rather collect on the value of the apartment or the value of the income?

    By imposing huge increases on rela estate transfer, we discourage people from moving when their job changes. Result: more traffic.

    “you are living in an unreal world to think that our
    problems are going to be resolved
    without adequate funds to do the

    Even if the funds are spent badly.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    Ray, I thought you were a capitalist. Yet you are concerned about ability to pay re fuels tax?

    Hello. Rememer our grandparents, or great grandparents. THink depression, and gardens, and all the care placed into concerning means and assets. No one gave a hoot about that generation’s ability to pay.

    They would not have expected it.

    I think ultimately we are a capitalist country.

    Ray, I am surprised at your entry.

  24. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I call it Capitalist “LITE”.

    No warm-blooded self respecting American would turn down a socialist subsidy…

    In fact.. there are those.. who advocate Capitalism that also advocate subsidies…

    go figure.

  25. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Fairfax County capitalists — $6.8 M annual taxpayer subsidy for the Economic Development Authority and a total subsidy of more than $43 M for below-cost land development and zoning service fees. Cant forget the billions for the Silver Line that will carry 18,400 new riders by 2030.

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think sometimes we fail to distinquish between what are legitimate pros/cons of the merits of different approaches to problems

    … and what is essentially bad government

    Bad government is where money is being spent by people who are unaccountable and the public has almost no recourse.

    I AGREE with TMT, Reid and othr critics of the current Regional Authority abuses but I also point out that VDOT is even further removed from customers ire with their ineffective and wasteful approaches.

    BOTH are essentially unaccountable to voters – and I see this as bad government.

    I know the line needs to be drawn somewhere. We cannot have voters micro-managing how many books are bought by a Regional Library.

    But I think the answer of directly voting for Regional Authorities is worth considering – and I would agree far, far preferable to appointments – especially appointments that become more or less permanent.. with little or no recourse for removal if the appointment person is not acting in the interests of the public..

    .. and this part is important

    In the opinion of the public.. he/she is acting in the interests of the public – not him and not the guys who appointed him – but the public by which he/she is supposed to be representing.

    I know in our own area – we had the MPO pursuing a beltway that they did not have funding for but they were essentially willing to gut the funding from existing roads as “seed” money.

    Those guys would have been voted out of office in an instant if citizens could have.

    Instead – they have been allowed to run amok… spending precious and scarce road money – for projects that did not address existing and long-standing congestion problems.

    The MPO must hold public comment periods and one can go up and list these abuses .. and what you get is these guys talking among themselves or yawning or reading something why you give your input because they know that they are immune from the public they represent.

  27. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Run amuck – that sums up all-appointed Regional Authroties quite well.

    Our region’s SPSA (trash) is over $200M in debt and forcing Chesapeake to remain after their City Council decised to quit.


    Backroom secret “deals” between some SPSA commissioners and North Carolina to construct a HUGE new trash dump – for out of state trash – on the border of Chesapeake.

    Instead of firing the Executive Director – they met and gave him a raise!!!!!!!

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