Does the Hampton Roads Partnership (HRP) get anything? Are they so powerful and wealthy that they think they can ignore what anyone else would tell them? This morning's Virginian-Pravda brings us the story of a HRP Good Friday Breakfast on Transportation policy http://hamptonroads.com/2008/03/plan-raise-sales-tax-fund-roads-gains-momentum
First of all, it was one huge sacrilege to hold such a Breakfast on Good Friday.
As for the content itself, elected officials going to pledge their fealty to the powerful is sick. Worse yet, it was to resurrect the worst parts of the 2002 referendum package that was rejected by 62% of the voters. All on Good Friday.
Okay, here's what's wrong with the proposal:
1. It bumps tax reform for the City of Virginia Beach. One of the Blue Ribbon Budget Tax and Spending Task Force's recommendations was a 1% local sales tax to replace a portion of the Property Tax. If you impose a Sales Tax for Transportation, can you still come back and do one for the City?
2. How it treats the transit-dependent. The original HB 3202 revenue package didn't tax the transit-dependent unless they sold a home. Now the transit-dependent will be taxed on every taxable purchase.
At least in 2002 transit got a portion of the money. Not this time.
3. How do you go back and add regional transit funding later? The obvious answer is a 2 cent per gallon regional Gas Tax, but how does that mix with a Sales Tax?
Yes, we need a replacement revenue package for the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority (HRTA), but not this monster!