Home Transportation From NO CAR TAX To GREEN CAR TAX: A Fairy Tale



Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Once upon a time, there was a wild and barbarous land called Virginia, ruled by a race of giant trolls named Republicans. This land also contained tiny dwarves known as Democrats, but nobody ever really tended to notice them.

The Republican trolls liked to do big, messy, smelly, destructive things, like chopping off the tops of mountains to turn them into coal fields, and covering their shores with oil rigs. The trolls liked to drive around in big vehicles known as pickups and SUVs.

One day, a particularly gruesome troll named Gilmore jumped on a rock to get all the others’ attention and yelled three words: “No Car Tax!” He repeated it over and over, until all the Republican trolls were excitedly yelling the same words, waving their hands and jumping up and down. (Trolls are very good at repeating things.)

In this way, Gilmore became King of the Trolls and was able to greatly reduce the hated car tax on their pickups and SUVs, and encourage another favorite troll chant — “Drill Baby Drill” — to ensure that the messy, smelly oil fields continued to fill the land.

So, all was good in the land of Virginia, until one day the trolls noticed that the dwarves also drove cars, but theirs were smaller and used less gasoline. This angered the trolls, since it contradicted the “Drill Baby Drill” chant.  

And so, the new King of the Trolls, named McDonnell — a troll with unusually excellent hair — jumped on a tree stump and started a new chant: “Green Car Tax!” Pretty soon, all the Republican trolls were waving their arms and yelling the same thing. So of course, there was a Green Car Tax imposed across the land, the oil fields kept flowing, and all was good in Virginia again.

It is possible that the Democratic dwarves may have said something on this matter, but as usual, no one paid any attention to them.

So, the moral of the story, boys and girls, is this: Trolls rule while dwarves get stomped on. Now shut up and go to bed. THE END.

  • pontoon

    No, I believe I should cry.  How do these people continue to get elected?

  • DJRippert

    I own a hybrid.  This new tax on hybrids will cost me about $.30 per day.  I don’t like the policy but I assume that it was a necessary part of a compromise required to get enough votes to pass the bill.  For years the most sensible answer to this problem has been to index the gas tax to inflation.  That has been proposed by Democratic Senators like Chap Petersen and defeated by Republicans primarily from rural and small town Virginia.  I recall seeing statistics showing that the majority of hybrids registered in Virginia are registered in urban and suburban locales (far beyond the population averages in those areas).  So, I assume that the hybrid tax somehow appeals to Republicans’ sense of fair play.  It is, in effect, a disproportionate tax on the suburbs.

    The bottom line is that we need a transportation solution.  A weak solution is better than no solution.  DoD spending will be cut, with or without sequestration.  This will hurt Virginia.  Our strength (especially in NoVa) is the average education level of the workforce.  We must have a means of keeping those educated workers in our area / state as the decline in federal spending occurs and the transition from more federal to less federal (and more private) occurs.  Right now, traffic congestion is the single biggest negative to quality of life ratings in NoVa and Tidewater.  Progress on this will encourage people in the workforce to remain.  Political gridlock will discourage people in the workforce and they will leave.  It’s not all or nothing.  However, it won’t take too much out migration of educated workers before we start to see an economic impact.  It has been estimated that one high tech worker brings in enough money (through herself and her employer) to support five other people in the economy.  If the money flow starts to constrict, the first things that will be cut by the General Assembly are help for the poor, the elderly and children.

    If the difference between having a transportation plan this year and not having one this year is $.30 per day for my hybrid, so be it.

    Finally, a transportation plan this year greatly benefits Terry McAuliffe.  If the plan is set then the debate over whether to raise taxes for transportation becomes moot.  Taxes will have been raised under a Republican governor.  What’s Cuccinelli going to do?  Demand that the McDonnell transportation plan be repealed just like he wants the Affordable Care Act repealed?  Please.  He is stuck without his most potent weapon – his “no taxes” mantra.  That, in itself, is worth $.30 per day to me.


  • Elaine in Roanoke

    This from Sen.Creigh Deeds:

    “As a legislator, I am mindful we cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. There are components of the plan that individually would never get my support, including the ill-advised $100 surtax on hybrid vehicles. However, we have never been this close to adopting a plan to improve transportation funding.”

    “The compromise is dependent to a large extent on passage of the federal Marketplace Equity Act (MEA), which would create a tax on internet sales…The compromise stipulates that if Congress does not act by January 1, 2015, the wholesale gasoline tax will increase to 5.1 percent. In addition to raising revenues for transportation, the money generated from the MEA and the sales tax increase will also benefit K-12 education. The plan is expected to generate over $200 million by 2018 for our public schools.”

    I sure hope Deeds is correct about education funding. The state got through the Great Recession by shortchanging VRS and throwing education funding more and more on local governments. I personally don’t see how the small increase in the sales tax will give education more funding, especially since transportation grabs a larger percentage of General Fund money. Put a little more in the GF and take out a larger part? “Show me the money.”

  • Jim B

    Lowering the tax on gasoline and putting a tax on “green” vehicles falls right into the climate deniers domain.