Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Budget Surplus Politics

News of a $1.8 billion budget surplus that Virginia will see over the next two-year budget cycle is giving opponents of raising taxes some leverage. This Washington Post story outlines the impact the money will have, and how the fight mirrors the 2004 battle over transportation funding. Sen. John Chichester still wants a long-term plan with money dedicated to transportation projects, while many House of Delegates members say no way to tax increases.
'The conflicting perspectives could foreshadow a clash between the House and Senate that could mimic the 2004 legislative session, when Chichester proposed a $4 billion tax increase to raise spending for state schools, public safety, health programs and transportation while the Republican leadership of the House insisted that there was no need for any tax increase.
"We're willing to look at any and all suggestions they make," said Del. R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). "But I don't think any increases in taxes are viable at this point."
Meanwhile, Gov.-elect Tim Kaine and House members could find some common ground on the idea of locking up the transportation trust fund, says the Post.


At 12:32 PM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

Tim Kaine's announced goals, including protecting the transportation trust funds from raids and stopping development where infrastructure cannot handle the traffic, rather than just building more roads, could well place Senator Chichester on the outside this time.

Despite his many campaign promises not to raise taxes, Mark Warner was ready to raise them from the get go. Thus, he and most Democrats in the GA were aligned with Chichester's tax-raising agenda. It only took a few defections among House Republicans to pass the tax increases.

But with Governor Kaine having a different vision, which presumably will be supported by the bulk of the Democrats in the GA, Chichester might not even have the votes in the Senate to raise taxes.

Moreover, Kaine and his allies (including the conservative Republicans in the House, in this instance) can bolster their position by pointing to the humiliating rejection of Senator Russ Potts in the race for Governor since Potts essentially adopted Chichester's views on spending and taxes.

Of course, Chichester could work for strong anti-development restrictions in an attempt to work others' agenda items with his own goals.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Yeah, but infrastructure might include water, sewer, schools, fire, etc.

This is a recipe for putting home prices off the map.

What good are low taxes if you can't afford to live?


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