“I prefer the sales tax to the gas tax because the gas tax is in a long-term decline,” Mr. McDonnell said, noting greater automotive fuel efficiency and a trend of people to drive less as gasoline prices increase.
Senate Democratic Leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax said that with half of the Senate’s seats, Democrats can block escalating annual diversions of revenue from the retail sales tax from the general fund, where it covers such services as health care, education and public safety, to transportation.
“Senator Saslaw is absolutely wrong. It’s bluster. It’s not correct. We’ve had $450 million of surplus over the past three years I’ve been governor. The general fund has been growing at anywhere from $800 million to $1 billion a year. Does the senator say we can’t afford another $50 million a year?” Mr. McDonnell said.
But because the share of the sales tax diversion increases each successive year, Democratic critics say it would shift more than $250 million within five years.
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