Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, didn’t like the tax-fattened transportation funding bill that was passed by the General Assembly earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell.
But it wasn’t enough for Cline to vote against the measure. He announced today that he has introduced legislation to repeal the law in 2014.
“When the Governor announced his transportation plan during the 2013 session, I applauded his focus on this critical issue facing the Commonwealth,” Cline wrote in a news release. “However, the plan that eventually became law is wrong for the Commonwealth, its businesses, and its citizens.”
The law, which took effect July 1, is expected to generate about $3.5 billion for state transportation needs over five years, and additional amounts for the congestion-plagued Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Among other things, the plan eliminated the state’s per-gallon excise tax on gasoline and replaced it with a tax assessed on the wholesale price of fuel, and increased taxes on retail and vehicle sales and allowed for additional tax increases in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
The omnibus bill was sponsored by House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County and passed with bipartisan support, giving McDonnell his signature legislative achievement. The bill that went to McDonnell’s desk got 60 votes in the House of Delegates and 25 votes in the Senate. It also won praise from Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe. So it’s hard to imagine that the law will be repealed in the near future. But Cline is trying anyway.
“During this fragile economic recovery from the worst economic recession in years, it is wrong to increase the tax burden on working families and small businesses struggling to make ends meet,” Cline said. ” At the time, I promised to continue fighting to protect Virginians from higher taxes, which is why I have introduced legislation to repeal last year’s law. Once we remove these higher taxes from families and businesses, we can then work together to enact meaningful transportation reforms for all of Virginia.”