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VA Senate Passes Income Tax for Transportation Bill

Vienna's Sen. Chap Petersen speaks out against proposal that would allow localities to impose a 1 percent income tax without voter approval.

The Virginia State Senate has passed a bill that would enable Virginia localities to create a local income tax to fund improvements to transportation infrastructure.

Under the legislation, SB 1313, which is now awaiting review in the House of Delegates, local governments would be allowed to establish an income tax of up to 1 percent without approval from voters.

The bill would affect the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. 

Current Virginia law dictates a jurisdiction’s residents must approve a local income tax in a referendum. The majority of Virginia localities, like Fairfax County, rely on road maintenance from the state, with the exception of some areas including Arlington County, Henrico County in Richmond and some cities in the Hampton Roads District.

Fairfax Sen. Chap Petersen, who represents Vienna, has been vocal in his opposition to the bill, which passed the senate in a 27-11 vote.

Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), who also represents parts of Vienna, supported the measure.

“This bill represents the worst possible deal for the Northern Virginia taxpayer,” Petersen said in a statement.

After Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $3.1 billion transportation funding package failed to the pass the Senate, Petersen worried this new legislation would be deemed the new fix to the state’s ongoing transportation problems.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said county staff had briefed her on the bill, but was unsure whether officials would support or consider such a tax should the bill become law.

“This was a surprise to us,” she said. “It was not something we expected to be introduced.”

County officials haven’t explored income tax referenda in the past because voters would not have supported it, she said.

“It’s had a lot of strings attached to it that would ensure its defeat,” she said.

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No Toll Increase February 08, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Let's hope the House of Delegates kills this bill before Loudoun residents get a 1% income tax hike that we can't do anything to stop. Removing the sunset and referendum provisions made this too good of a temptation for local officials to resist.
Bob Bruhns February 08, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Even if this particular trick is defeated this time, rest assured that it will be tried again, and again, and again, until it succeeds in picking your pockets. Face facts. People just might want to make sure that they are not paying two times what the Dulles Rail / Silver Line should cost, plus finance charges on the huge pile of money that has to be borrowed, in order to overpay so grossly for that project - because it won't just be somebody ELSE who will have to pay for that. http://www.bruhns.us/civic/DullesRail/Dulles-Rail---Silver-Line-overcost-report---Bruhns.pdf The overcharges are heading home to roost, people - and sooner or later, a lot of money will be coming out of YOUR pockets as a result. That changes things a little bit, don't you think?

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