- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tea partyers and conservatives are sounding the alarm, calling on Virginians to voice their outrage to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who just signed into law what one economic analysis called the largest tax increase in state history.

The tax hike comes by way of a transportation bill. Of concern to conservatives is a statewide tax hike from 5 percent to 5.3 percent, an increase in the car-titling tax from 3 percent to 4.3 percent and an increase in diesel fuel taxes to 6 percent, according to conservative news site National Review Online.

The governor’s office is nonetheless touting the measure as a win for conservatives, primarily because the state can now access general funds for transportation projects. But tea party-type ideologues aren’t buying that line of logic.

“The outrage is starting to build fast,” said Jamie Radtke, a former tea party backed candidate for Senate. “Virginians are just now learning about the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia that … McDonnell is pushing on all of us.”

Miss Radtke began an online petition to protest the tax hikes and “create a groundswell” against politicos who supported it.

National Review Online editorialized that the bill is politically “problematic,” putting Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who’s running for Mr. McDonnell’s seat, in an awkward position. Mr. Cuccinelli opposed the transportation plan, but his opposition, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, favored it.

“[Cuccinelli] could have used an assist from his party, rather than another hurdle,” the site said.

Other conservatives also voiced their displeasure with the bill.

“If you are a conservative, remember Bob McDonnell thinks you are an idiot. That’s the only explanation I can think of for what just happened in Virginia this week,” said Erick Erikson of Red State.

Breitbart, which reported the tax hike as the largest in commonwealth history — higher than the $442 million annual increase in 1986 and $680 million per year hike from 2004 — said a group of conservative activists had banded in opposition.

“This is not the time to raise taxes on hard-working Virginian employers and employees,” the activists said in a letter.