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Up the percentage, but no new taxes page 2
Del. Mark Cole's op-ed column on transportation in Virginia.

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Date published: 1/6/2013


There is never a good time to raise taxes, and given the weak state of the economy, now would be the worst time to raise taxes. Taxpayers and businesses are about to be hit with significantly higher taxes from Washington, including a new taxes, fees, and regulations associated with President Obama's health care reform, which alone will be enough to push our stagnant economy into recession. Doubling up on that by raising taxes at the state level would just make a bad situation worse.

Just like every business and family, government needs to live within its means and set spending priorities. Given our significant traffic problems, transportation must be at the top of the General Assembly's priority list. I have proposed increasing the percentage of the current sales tax dedicated to transportation. To be clear, this is not a proposal to raise the sales tax, but simply to increase the portion of the current sales tax dedicated to transportation.

Currently, a half percent of the current sales tax goes to transportation. I have proposed increasing that allocation to a full percent over a period of five years. Legislation includes provisions to delay the transfer if it would result in a decrease of money available to the General Fund.

This would provide nearly $700 million in additional transportation funding without raising taxes. This amount would grow with the economy and inflation, something the current gas tax fails to do.

While setting spending priorities and reallocating resources is difficult, it is something that we must do to ensure that core functions of government, like transportation, are addressed.

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Del. Mark Cole, R-88th, represents parts of Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Fauquier counties and of the city of Fredericksburg in the Virginia House of Delegates.