The Virginian Pilot editorial page criticized the House GOP call for complete phase-out of the car tax.
Where’s the Grand Old Party of yore?
Not in the Republican House of Delegates. It’s been possessed by the zealotry of Grover Norquist’s American Tax Foundation.
Five years after GOP lawmakers seized power, promising to govern on conservative principles, the pledge lies bankrupted by an addiction to tax cuts at any cost.
The pattern continued Tuesday as House Speaker Bill Howell and other key Republicans pledged to re-ignite the phase out of the property tax on cars.
Here’s the reckless part:
“We have not worked out the details, but I think perhaps over the next six years” the pledge could be fulfilled, said House Appropriations Chair Vince Callahan.
Callahan knows better.
“We have not worked out the details” may suffice for voters satisfied with “No Car Tax” on a bumper sticker.
But a governing majority has a responsibility to weigh the details of far-reaching policy. And a conservative governing majority, an ideal for which the GOP used to stand, has a particular duty to explain consequences and tradeoffs.
… True conservatives would explain how they intend to fix a transportation program headed toward maintenance-only while also eliminating the car tax. House leaders didn’t.
Before Tuesday, House Republicans had begun sounding as if they cared about something other than tax cuts. They trotted out a modest plan for transportation and proposals on gangs and veteran’s benefits that address several state needs. Now the obsession has returned with a wild tax promise.
The Times calls the GOP ploy another “folly.”
In 1998, in starting to phase in a costly car tax relief program, then-newly elected Gov. Jim Gilmore and the Virginia General Assembly made two remarkably errant assumptions and, by implication anyway, two remarkably cynical misrepresentations.
In 2005, Republican leaders of the House of Delegates seem intent on repeating the folly.