Virginia Budget Deal Stalled as Democrats Demand $3B in Increased Spending

by Shaun Kenney

Just to illustrate how fanatically out of touch Senate Democrats are as they frantically try to spend $3 billion on more government, check out State Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) on Twitter as he blasts Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposal for gasoline tax relief:

Remember — we are sitting on a $3bn surplus fueled by COVID relief dollars and not by any metric of economic success. Yet Senate Democrats continue to lean into the hammock of so-called budget cuts as they continue to shove money into the maw of state government for the sake of producing mediocre results.

Just to illustrate how inane Surovell’s argument is, every year in Richmond there is the observation that as fuel efficiencies continue to increase and electric cars continue to gain in popularity, the effective impact of the gasoline tax to fund Virginia’s transportation system — which is not linked in any form to local land use one might add — becomes less and less every year. Couple this with the shift to green energy and the efforts of shady third-party environmentalist groups, and the beneficiaries always seem to be Russian oil companies who benefit from $100+/barrel oil prices.

Thus the cost of heating oil, gasoline, kerosene, fertilizers and other byproducts continues to climb, and those who are hurt the most are your fixed income seniors and working class poor.

Not that Surovell gives a damn about those people.

Yet the wider argument not specifically raised by Youngkin but one that ought to be discussed in a more active sense next year is whether or not the gasoline tax — like so many other tax vehicles we use in Virginia — is obsolete.

With the Biden administration announcing new rules that will force auto makers to increase their fuel efficiencies to 40mpg by 2026, two punches are being telegraphed here: that the gasoline tax isn’t going to be a reliable revenue source as fuel economies continue to increase, and that the conflict in Eastern Europe is going to continue for the foreseeable future, necessitating policies that will further guarantee US energy security over the next four years.

But that doesn’t bother Northern Virginia types making six figures all that much. After all, they can afford the higher taxes. Why can’t poor people? Which is why Surovell channelling his inner Paris Hilton and telling his constituents to “stop being poor” is both tone deaf and heartlessly numb.

This column has been republished with permission from The Republican Standard.

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19 responses to “Virginia Budget Deal Stalled as Democrats Demand $3B in Increased Spending”

  1. killerhertz Avatar

    Their liberal comrades in MD have already enacted a gas tax holiday, so I’m not sure what this Ukranian flag wearing retard is talking about. He has no business governing an ant colony let alone Virginians.

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It is correct that a gas tax will become less and less a reliable source of revenue for transportation. So, what source of revenue does Mr. Kenney recommend in place of the gas tax?

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Some kind of extra fee for registering high mpg vehicles maybe…??

  3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    When working class Virginians go to the gas pump, they do not fill up. They buy enough gas to get themselves to work and back. 5 bucks or 10 bucks at a time. That is all they have to put towards fuel costs. Now it is even tighter. I am glad to see Youngkin remember them. Nobody else ever seems to.

  4. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    The other day Surovell had a Tweet using the phrase “tax gimmicks,” as I recall. As if the Senate has not also already agreed to 1) the one-time rebate, 2) it’s own reduction in the sales tax on food and 3) a tax subtraction for military retiree pay. The Senate also has the proposal for an actual cash rebate to low income taxpayers under the Earned Income Tax Credit. THOSE apparently are not “tax gimmicks,” right Surovell? THOSE tax cuts do no harm to the future of Virginia, you’d agree?

    So that leaves the gas tax proposal as a gimmick and the doubling of the standard deduction as a gimmick, in his reckoning. I’m falling on no swords for a 90-day reduction in the gas tax, myself, but adjusting the standard deduction as so many other states did in 2019, moving it closer to the new federal amount, is hardly a gimmick and he knows it. Absent the poisoned atmosphere, it is the kind of bill Scott would sponsor. Previous Democrats have. A compromise that involves the standard deduction and EITC writes itself.

    1. Randy Huffman Avatar
      Randy Huffman

      Good points.

      I agree increasing the Standard deduction makes the most sense. But I will add that this morning, I had two sets of contractors stop at my house. Out of necessity, both drive big vans/trucks. I saw my neighbor having his lawn mowed by a contractor, and the developer is building house, taking deliveries and his workers all drive pickups out of necessity. Of course, while there are a number of city living Virginians or those who can zoom, the majority of hard work Virginians have to travel to their work.

      These are the folks I think of, none are affluent, they all work hard, and they are getting squeezed right now. The gas tax is not a big number for them, but if the President can make headline news by releasing strategic petroleum reserves that only will affect gas by a few cents, why is the gas tax considered a gimmick by these Dem’s?

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    We do have some things that need to be done that we’ve put off because of budget issues.

    we do need to do something about our mental health facilities.

    we have CSO and wastewater plant problems that are seriously impacting
    the Chesapeake Bay.

    We have rural hospitals that are closing.

    We have an opioid problem that we said we were going to address.

    It’s always about priorities and the cut, cut, cut folks pretty much seem to not have a clue or care about these issues if it affects their tax cut!

    Conservatives have opposed things like the ACA and the Medicaid Expansion (for those working people being abused at the gas pumps).
    Pretty sure if you asked the folks now getting health insurance if they’d trade a tax cut for not having it – they’d not agree.

    Creigh Deeds will tell you what happens when we do not have sufficient mental health facilities.

    The folks who make their living fishing and oystering in the Cheapeake
    Bay will as us to pay for cleaning up our own poop and pee.

    Two sides to the issue – unless you are a conservative!

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Rural hospitals are closing because the population of rural areas is in decline. Despite the “work from home revolution” caused by COVID-19.

      Solve that problem or accelerate the decline in population of rural areas.

      There is no magic here. At some point rural areas need to start growing again or the people in rural areas need to get used o fewer services.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “We don’t want ‘your type’ around here!”


        “Why is my hospital closing! Where is everyone?!”

  6. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

    Tell you what, we filled up on I-70 in Big Pool, Maryland on Monday for $3.74, but we could barely get to the gas pumps due to long line of semi truck trailers lined up at the nearby truck diesel stop. I presume the truckers are getting the tax discounts also? and if so, filling up their tanks before they hit I-81 into Virginia. A tax holiday could be a boon for I-81 diesel sales (I presume). However, at the moment, Maryland might be eating our lunch.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      And THAT is embarrassing.

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      So why do we want to subsidize I-81 diesel sales to out-of-state truckers?

      1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

        I assume they buy lunch too…good for business

        1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          Sorry, I don’t think the convenience store industry in western VA needs to be propped up with my tax dollars.

  7. DJRippert Avatar

    First off, I am OK. I was a little shaken up this morning as I was robbed at a Shell gas station downtown. After my hands stopped trembling I managed to call the police. They were quick to respond and calmed me down. My money is all gone. The police asked if I knew who did it. I said yes … It was pump number 3.

    1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      Ha Ha DC? we don’t have a downtown around here. And watch out for the foxes biting everyone over there.

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        When the man is right
        You know the foxes fight
        But the only foxes
        Who will fight over you
        Are the kind of foxes
        Found in the zoo

        JJ Walker, Good Times, circa 1975

  8. Any politician that uses twitter should be ignored and voted out of office.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Twitter does seem to do more harm than good.

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