Monday, March 10, 2008

Repost: The Democratic Party of Virginia moves to clean up another Republican mess

They say History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes. Every few years in Virginia, the Democratic Party is forced to step in and clean up a financial mess created by the Republican Party of Virginia. This time its the abuser fees.

Need a little proof that the abuser fees were a Republican idea? Goodness knows I've said before that it was a Republican idea foisted on a Commonwealth that wanted a sensible transportation plan. But you need proof that abuser fees were a Republican idea? Fine, how about this:
Perhaps a little history of how this package took shape would put the issue in perspective. House Bill 3202, just by its title, should shed a little light on the subject of where the guts of the bill originated. Speaker of the House Bill Howell took the unusual step of being the chief patron of major legislation in order to bring attention to the importance of Republicans addressing this critical issue. While the bill was written by various leaders in the House, members of the Senate were offered opportunities to have input on the package, but we were warned repeatedly by the Speaker in person and in the press that any major rewrite to the bill by the Senate or any taxes added to the bill would certainly spell doom for the legislation in its return to the House. The bill was crafted to allow members of the House Republican Caucus who had signed the “no tax pledge” to vote for the package. The Senate was told in no uncertain terms it was this package or nothing. Based on public opinion, nothing appears as a fairly attractive alternative. The Senate had passed legislation in past years and even in 2007 that included gas tax increases as we viewed the gas tax as the ultimate user fee related to road construction. Remember one of the first things President Ronald Reagan did upon taking office was to raise the gas tax, as he appreciated the contribution a reliable transportation system made to the economy and to families’ quality of life.[1]
The author of this statement? Republican Virginia State Senator Marty Williams--nice of them to fess up after the election.

Now a long line of Democratic legislators are queued up to file legislation to repeal the ill-conceived Republican abuser fees. The sad misguided Republicans who live in fear of Grover Norquist will no doubt point and whine "Tax hike! Tax hike!" when Democrats move to do what Ronald Reagan would have done and enact a modest increase in the the gas tax so Virginia can invest in some much needed transportation improvements. The gas tax is the obvious solution and everyone knows it. Like 2004, it will just be another case of Democrats cleaning up after the fiscal quackery of the Republican Party of Virginia, the party that just can't seem to balance the books

History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes.

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