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Van Sant: Keep--and raise--the gas tax, Governor
No, Gov. McDonnell, don't increase our sales taxes

Date published: 1/23/2013

Gov. McDonnell has always appeared reasonably sensible, practical, and dedicated to the welfare of our commonwealth. Now, I am afraid he has gone off the track.

His proposed abolition of the gas tax and increase of the sales tax is fiscal madness. The gas tax is really a user tax and is one of the fairest taxes there is. One pays for the gasoline used to travel on and wear out our highway infrastructure. It is paid by the gallon, which means the payment is directly proportional to the wear and tear on infrastructure. We have not raised our gas-tax rate in Virginia for almost 30 years, and our rate is now deep in the bottom half of the rates of all the states in the U.S.

I was chairman of the Virginia Municipal League's Transportation Committee at the time of the last raise, and it is hard to minimize the positive impact that tax increase had throughout the state. For many years, our Transportation Department kept ahead of, or up with, our needs. A 10-cent or even a 15-cent increase in the per-gallon rate now would have an electrifying impact on our VDOT. Our people would notice, too.

And what is 10 or 15 cents compared with the horrifying increases of 20, 30 or 75 cents in price per gallon we have faced because of international problems and profiteering over the last 20 years? And we have just had to suck up those increases.

No, Governor, don't increase our sales taxes. Let us continue to pay for our transportation infrastructure at the pump.

George M. Van Sant

Irvington