Legislators worried about the effect of Gov. Gerald L. Baliles' budget on local school systems won key committee passage yesterday of a bill designed to raise an extra $4 million by accelerating the collection of some taxes from Virginia employers.
House Finance Committee Chairman C. Richard Cranwell (D-Vinton) summoned committee members to his desk in the House chamber to win nearly instantaneous passage of the tax collection bill.
Cranwell said the bill, a rewrite of a previously filed income tax measure, was part of a growing legislative effort to "lighten the impact" of Baliles' 1988-90 education budget.
Although the biennial budget provides the second-largest increases in school funding in state history, lawmakers increasingly complain that it will hurt their home town school systems, especially over time.
For instance, Cranwell said officials in his Roanoke area contend that they may have to add 10 cents to the local property tax rate to cover education costs.
While conceding that the tax collection bill may cause "some small hardship" on employers with weekly payrolls, Cranwell added: "I'd rather have to take this hit, than take the blame for the 10 cents" back home.
Cranwell's bill would raise $1.8 million this year and $2.2 million next year by requiring employers to speed up their payment of employees' withholding taxes to the state. Employers already pay the federal government such taxes on an accelerated schedule.
Several Republicans on the finance panel objected to Cranwell's bill. Del. C. Jefferson Stafford (R-Bland) said it was unnecessary because the budget was already "so fat this year."
But Del. Raymond R. (Andy) Guest Jr. of Front Royal, the House Republican leader, voted for it, as did most of the committee's Democrats. The bill passed, 11 to 6.