- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
A new world of higher taxes?
Question of the Day
Monday’s vote by the Virginia House of Delegates to increase taxes by $500 million suggests that state politicians are moving toward some kind of consensus in favor of higher taxes. The legislation, passed by a 59-36 vote, was opposed by just six of the 61 Republicans in the 100-member House. The bill increases taxes by taking away sales-tax exemptions from a variety of industries, including airlines, railroads, telecommunications, utility companies and dry cleaners.
Ever since Democratic Gov. Mark Warner unveiled his own package, which increases taxes by $1 billion over two years, Republicans in the House, led by Speaker Bill Howell, have been under pressure to raise taxes. The pressure intensified last month when Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Chichester unveiled his own package of tax increases totaling $2.6 billion over two years. With Monday’s vote, however, Mr. Howell has taken a critical step toward higher taxes.
The vote by the House has left Republicans reeling and Democrats eagerly anticipating the opportunity to criticize GOP legislators for supporting higher taxes. “It’s the wrong direction to take this state,” said Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, the likely Democratic nominee for governor in 2006. Delegate Robert McDonnell, a Virginia Beach Republican who plans to run for attorney general next year, decided not to vote for or against the proposal, saying he needed more time to examine its impact.
This much is clear: The tax increase stands a good chance of alienating Republican grass-roots activists. In an interview yesterday and in a memo sent to Republican leaders around Virginia, former state Republican Party Chairman Patrick McSweeney was sharply critical of Republican legislators’ willingness to agree to higher taxes. He noted that Mr. Howell and Delegate Vincent Callahan, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, proposed a set of “Guiding Principles for Tax Budget Deliberations.” One important principle mentioned in this memo was that every reasonable option for cutting spending should be exhausted before higher taxes are considered. But the reality is that there has been little sustained effort to look at ways to cut the budget. A large part of the problem, Mr. McSweeney contends, is that the Warner administration has been so determined to increase taxes that it has failed to work cooperatively with the General Assembly on finding places to streamline state government.
Although we would have preferred to have seen Republicans stand firm against tax increases, the reality is that there is no significant number of tax-increase opponents left in Richmond today. Thus, the main order of business for Republicans should be to try to mitigate the damage from tax increases by negotiating with the governor for some off-setting cuts in spending.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq