So when Jim Gilmore came along in 1997 and ran for governor on the promise of ending the local car tax, he promised something that could not be delivered absent an amendment to the state constitution, a process that takes at least three years.I guess that makes Gilmore a flim-flam artist, though not an especially skillful one.
Gilmore didn't want to wait three years and came up with another hot idea: Put a line item in the state budget and use state tax dollars to cover the loss of local tax dollars. It had all the aspects of a first-class flim-flam — some sleight-of-hand that just picked a different pocket.
As you can tell from the tax bill sent out by your city or county, the car tax never totally went away. The promise turned out to be an illusion.
And an expensive one. While Gilmore set the annual cost at $620 million when he was campaigning for the governor's mansion and against the car tax, more sober-minded legislators have since capped the cost at $950 million — an amount that continues to be annually extracted from the state treasury for the sake of pretending that "car-tax relief" actually occurred. So, you see, you're still paying the tax; it's just coming out of the pot you pay to the state, not the pot you pay to the locality.
The car tax "cut" is just another item on a long list of financial quackeries put forward by the republican Party. The most recent entry on that list is, of course, the abuser fee.
Read the entire editorial here.