- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

If you had any doubts that Virginia's Democrat governor, Mark R. Warner, has his eye eternally on taxpayers' wallets, these should be dispelled by the pro-tax putsch he's backed since his inauguration. If voters approve the tax referendum come November, a new regional taxing authority will be created with quasi-legislative powers to impose new levies on Virginians ostensibly to fund transportation improvements for the Northern Virginia area.

Some $3 million will be spent on "voter outreach" efforts along these lines including print and electronic media advertising. What voters won't be told is that they're being asked to endorse what amounts to an open-ended blank check. That is because, once established, the new regional taxing authority will be difficult, if not impossible, to ever get rid of or control.

Virginians should prepare themselves for a windy campaign of half-truths tying traffic-congestion relief to a tax increase. Mr. Warner and his well-oiled strategists will do their very best to convince voters that new roads are on the way. But the truth is all that's coming if the referendum passes is higher taxes in perpetuity. And probably even more gridlock caused by yet more ill-conceived development. That's the true nature of the choice Virginia taxpayers will be asked to make come November. Hopefully, they'll have the wisdom to see through Mr. Warner's grasping gambit.

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