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: