Poor government management caused state to seek more taxes


My pleasure to see that opponents of the above proposal have been given space in the letters pages of the local papers arises partly in that others may be influenced and partly to know that others have the same reasons.

The greatest fallacy in most of the "YES" (for the tax increase) position is the same as the opposition to the elimination of the car tax. In neither case was it really an "either ? or proposition, the people did not want the car tax. No rational person thought that taxes as a whole would be greatly decreased. But the General Assembly and big government advocates ? ' failed to substitute other revenue sources or trim spending. The same failure or refusal to act is again being applied in what I view as a disingenuous way to the discussion of the present issue.

If the Road Tax/Sales Tax referendum fails on November 5th the world will not end nor will traffic come to a halt. The General Assembly will convene as scheduled in January 2003. At that time the Members can use their plenary power and resources to come up with a solution to the transportation needs of the Commonwealth in conjunction with and in relation to all of the other needs of government. This can include budget cuts and/or tax increases. That is the job for which they volunteered, for which they accept the compensation offered for their time and effort. The result is called a biennial budget.

The YES pro tax position has many negative aspects:

1. This is a step through the back door toward regional government (and this one un-elected) which the people have rejected.

2. This represents the start of de facto repeal of the "Dillon Rule"' even though the General Assembly may not now think so.

3. This will give the General Assembly and the Governor what I call a moral or psychological pass to immediately propose additional taxes or tax increases. They will say, in effect, that if the need is great then the people are for it. And as representatives of the people they are certain they know what the people want. They will respond to those who object that parts of the Commonwealth has just had a 22% sales tax increase by saying that " the people voted for it but there are other pressing needs'. The result for us will be a 6% sales tax by July 1, 2004 at the latest.

4. We do not need to be Balkanized into the sub-states of Northern Virginia, Tidewater Virginia, Central Virginia, Southside Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Differential taxation will lead to more intrastate inefficient asset deployment, tax driven business development and urban sprawl.

5. No tax is ever "temporary". After the moaning and bleating and fear mongering which repeal or limitation of the car tax engender who can have any shadow of a doubt that the one percent would stay forever?

There is more but this should be enough to support a "NO" vote on November 5'.

James N. Garrett Jr. - Portsmouth