News Column

Norquist Warns Va. Lawmakers on Indexing Gas Tax

Dec. 12, 2012

Andrew Cain

As fiscal cliff negotiations cause some Republicans in Congress to spurn their no-new-taxes vows, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is warning Virginia Republicans that indexing the gas tax to inflation would violate the pledge.

"I write you today to express (Americans for Tax Reform's) opposition to any proposal to index the gas tax to inflation because simply, this proposal is a job-killing tax increase," Norquist wrote in a letter to Virginia legislators.

"For those members of the Virginia legislature who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, voting to index the gas tax to inflation, without any complete offsets, would be in clear violation of the promise you made to your constituents and the people of Virginia to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.

"By indexing the gas tax to inflation, it would create a new fuel tax regime, which would raise taxes on countless Virginia families and businesses, as well as put future tax increases on autopilot.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says the idea of indexing Virginia's gas tax to inflation is one of an array of proposals he is considering to help fund transportation maintenance and improvements.

"I'm looking at a range of things. I can tell you that every other major tax in Virginia, the sales tax, the corporate income tax and the income tax, all fluctuate with economic activity because they're a percentage of income or sales or corporate income and so they continue to grow with economic activity," McDonnell told reporters last month.

Virginia's gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon has not been increased since 1986 and is lower than that of neighboring states.

Rep. Scott Rigell, R-2nd, is among members of Congress who have renounced the pledge from Americans for Tax Reform, arguing that additional revenues might be necessary to cope with the federal deficit.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)

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