Friday, January 20, 2006

Virginia looking at another tax hike.

Nation: Virginia Republicans voted in some winners here I see.

RICHMOND, Jan. 20 -- Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and a bipartisan group of state senators on Friday offered competing proposals to raise taxes and fees, each generating close to $4 billion by 2010 to relieve the state's chronically congested transportation network. Accepting the political dangers of proposing Virginia's second major tax increase in two years, Kaine is seeking higher taxes on auto insurance and the purchase of a car as well as stiffer fees on car registration and driving offenses. With nearly $1 billion more to spend each year, the new governor said, he would push for a connected network of carpool or express toll lanes on all of Northern Virginia's major highways, double the state's support for mass transit and jumpstart long-stalled interchange enhancements and road-widening projects. The senators, meanwhile, want a new sales tax on gasoline at the wholesale level that would likely be passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump. Drivers pay 17.5-cents per gallon in state gas taxes. "We must have a dedicated and sustainable revenue source for transportation," said Senate Finance Chairman John H. Chichester (R-Northumberland). "We cannot cure transportation by draining the lifeblood from public and higher education, health care and public safety." On Monday, Kaine proposed new authority for local governments to limit growth as another way of easing congestion. That proposal drew immediate protests from angry homebuilders, real estate agents and developers, who visited many legislators on Tuesday. On Friday, Kaine's suggestion to raise taxes to fund transportation projects prompted howls of protest from some Republican members in the House of Delegates and lobbyists for the auto dealers. Kaine's adversaries criticized what they called an unwarranted grab for more money. "It's very hard to justify a tax increase to the general public when we just went through one two years ago," said House Appropriations Chairman Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax). "And then we've had massive surpluses in the years since. It's going to be a hard sell."
Florida OTOH is looking to give us a break.
TALLAHASSEE — Proposals presented Thursday by House members would give shoppers a weeklong summer sales tax holiday or put a $100 rebate in the pocket of all homesteaded property owners. The House Republicans' proposal would eliminate the state's 6 percent sales tax on all personal purchases under $5,000. Between July 31 and Aug. 6, everything from taxable groceries to furniture or cars would be exempt from state sales tax if the full Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush go along with the plan this spring. Responding with a tax-cut plan of their own, House Democrats are proposing a $100 rebate to all homestead property owners. Republicans unveiled the $500 million sales tax holiday proposal to kick back to consumers a sliver of Florida's surging government tax collections. Unlike previous back-to-school and hurricane-related tax holidays, Republicans' proposal would eliminate the state's 6 percent sales tax on the first $5,000 of all personal purchases instead of just targeted goods. Previous sales-tax holidays were limited to specific items such as clothes and school supplies, or capped the amount eligible for the tax break at much lower levels — flashlights only up to $20 or $750 for generators, for instance, during last year's hurricane preparedness sale-tax holiday. If approved, the proposal would be the largest single tax break in Florida history, dwarfing the $300 million property tax break the governor pushed through in 1999. GOP legislators said government can afford not to charge the tax for a week because Florida expects $3.5 billion in additional revenues next year over last year's collections, as home sales and construction continue to surge.
Nice offer by the Dems, 100 bucks.
Lee County Commissioner Bob Janes said Thursday he doesn't like the idea of a sales-tax holiday. Instead, Janes said, the money should be spent on things the county needs to deal with the breakneck pace of growth. "We need mental health facilities desperately. There's a crisis in intervention centers," he said. "I just feel we need to do that sort of stuff, and we're falling behind." A tax cut or a $100 check, he said, is "a chunk of money but not that much" and probably would mainly be spent on consumer goods. "Does it really help them or just create conspicuous spending?" Janes asked.
What we would do with our money is none of your damn business Janes. You get the point?
But some Fort Myers residents favor the tax holiday. Cool D.J. Willie, 35, a disc jockey at the EnVie nightclub, said he knows exactly what he'd buy: "I'd buy a G5 Minitower." That's a top-of-the-line Apple computer. With an optional high-quality screen, it runs about $4,700. His boss, EnVie owner Jason Kohn, 28, also liked the idea. "Why not, if it would save me some money?" Evan Williams, 25, a waiter at the Morgan House restaurant, agreed. "To me, it sounds good," Williams said. "I'd love to have extra spending money back."

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