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2004-03-08 Republicans adopt Democrat budget priorities

Yes, Virginia, HB1488 is a tax hike

Last week, two Republican delegates told the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance (FCTA) that House Bill 1488, which they support, is not a tax hike, because it eliminates sales tax exemptions for large corporations (including utilities). Removing these exemptions increases tax revenues by $1/2 billion. FCTA president, Arthur G. Purves, commented, "The industries losing the exemptions regard HB 1488 as a tax hike. Electric, telephone, and gas utilities have promised to pass these tax increases on to their customers. HB 1488 is a tax hike."

Republicans, who campaigned against taxes, cornered themselves into raising taxes by adopting the same budget priorities as Governor Mark R. Warner, a Democrat. These priorities, identified by Republican House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Vince Callahan, on February 6 include:

  • AAA bond rating
  • – Higher taxes are not the solution; the solution is to cease excessive bond sales.
  • Public schools , since Virginia ranks only 37th in state funding of public schools
  • – This rank excludes local public-school funding, in which Virginia ranks 13th. In overall spending for public school instruction, Virginia ranks 20th. Phonics-based reading instruction would help public schools more than tax hikes.
  • Public colleges
  • – This ignores the finding of the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) that inflation-adjusted budgets for Virginia four-year public colleges have been increasing more than three times faster than enrollment.
  • Medicaid AFDC-related funding
  • – Increased welfare funding correlates with the increase of out-of-wedlock births, which in turn correlates with the soaring prison population. Since the advent of massive welfare spending in the 60s, the percentage of American children born out of wedlock has increased from seven percent to 33 percent.
  • Medicaid nursing-home funding
  • – Half as many of America’s elderly live with their children today as compared to fifty years ago. Government cannot pay professionals to do what families did better for free.

Purves asked Republicans and Democrats to reject costly debt financing, blank checks for the Virginia Education Association, and the use of taxes to destroy and replace families with big government.