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Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 12/12/2012

Norquist and the Virginia gas tax

Virginia’s press corps is in tall cotton: Grover Norquist has inserted himself into the pre-debate over a proposed gas tax increase.

In a letter intended entirely for public consumption, Norquist says the tax idea floated by Republican Sen. John Watkins (but that my sources say will actually be introduced by another GOP senator) is nothing more than “a job-killing tax increase.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. (Rich Clement - BLOOMBERG)
But he does leave the worthies some wiggle room: “voting to index the gas tax to inflation, without any complete offsets, would be in clear violation of the promise you made to your constituents and the people of Virginia to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes” (emphasis mine).

The lure of this offset option may be part of the reason why Gov. McDonnell sent emissaries to Grover. If they could strike a deal, then no harm done to the would-be pledge-breakers and Virginians get to pay more at the pump. Everybody wins!

Except for those folks in the House of Delegates who aren’t keen on the idea of raising the gas tax at all. Some House members are more keen on diverting a greater portion of the sales tax to roads. While this is mixing revenue apples with user-fee oranges, and will upset the defenders of other government programs, it does have one benefit: It forces a choice.

But choices are hard and few legislators want to earn the Virginia Education Association’s wrath. So what are the options?

[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Norman Leahy  |  11:22 AM ET, 12/12/2012

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