A pro-business group wants to end three business taxes and expand the sales tax to services.
Think tanks, advocacy groups and legislative commissions have documented the imperfections of Virginia’s tax code. Loopholes and tax breaks cost the commonwealth billions of dollars annually, many with poorly defined goals or none at all. Much of the service sector is exempt from the collection duties imposed on merchants.
But plans promising a simpler and fairer tax system fail because they create winners and losers. The latter inevitably become more energetic lobbyists. Small but scrappy bands of bowlers, barbers, dry cleaners and funeral home directors prowl the halls of the Capitol terrorizing hapless lawmakers. Efforts to appease the afflicted cause complex problems to grow more complex.