Anyone who has been paying attention knows the HB 2313 started out as the Governor’s Transportation Bill, but has been warped into a massive tax increase by the General Assembly, that included an extra sales tax for our area, Hampton Roads. State AG Ken Cuccinelli had declared HB 2313 to be against the state constitution because of the extra special tax levied on certain areas, NoVa & Hampton Roads. Virginians who have been hoping that the Governor would veto this hot mess saw their hopes dashed this morning. Gov. Bob McDonnell has amended HB2313 to EXPAND the area considered for the extra Hampton Roads tax.
“He [Cuccinelli] also said the road bill’s imposition of a 6 percent sales tax in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia – higher than the 5.3 percent that other Virginians would pay – is unconstitutional.
According to legislators involved in the transportation discussions, several technical amendments are being proposed to help the bill withstand possible legal challenges. One would expand the bill’s definition of Hampton Roads to include Southampton and Surry counties, which would match other state delineations of the region.
The road funding bill, HB 2313, aims to raise $880 million annually for highway, rail and mass transit programs. And the new revenue would shore up Virginia’s road maintenance fund, which in recent years has siphoned dollars earmarked for construction.
The bill is also expected to raise $220 million more a year for Hampton Roads and roughly $300 million in Northern Virginia from the local levies.
The legislation’s key funding mechanisms include raising the sales tax on everyday purchases; converting the per-gallon gasoline tax to a wholesale rate; banking on hoped-for Internet sales tax collections; raising the sales tax on automobiles; and adding a $100 registration fee for alternative-fuel vehicles.
Legislative sources said Monday evening they expect McDonnell to reduce that charge; one said it could fall to $64.
A spokesman for the governor’s office declined to comment on the substance of any proposed amendments.
There’s been pushback on the hybrid fee, which is one of the smaller revenue items in the bill, raising just $10 million in the first year. McDonnell has promised to cancel the fee altogether on electric mopeds. Current law charges a $50 fee on electric cars.”