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BREAKING: Cuccinelli Says Transportation Bill, Medicaid Expansion Unconstitutional

by: lowkell

Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 18:07:32 PM EDT

According to our fine Attorney General (and his office), the two main accomplishments of the 2013 Virginia General Assembly are not constitutional.

1. Transportation

It is my opinion that, although the imposition of different taxes on transactions in different localities does not violate Article X, § 1, HB 2313's imposition of taxes in the specific localities constitutes a local law related to taxation prohibited by Article IV, § 14(5) of the Virginia Constitution. It further is my opinion that, because the taxes were imposed directly by the General Assembly, the taxes cannot be saved by the provisions of Article VII, § 2, even if they had obtained the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.
Interesting, I actually thought Article X was a stronger argument against this bill. Go figure.

2. Medicaid expansion

It is my opinion that the provisions of the 2013 budget act that purport to authorize Medicaid expansion only "[i]f the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission determines that" certain conditions set by the General Assembly have been met constitutes a delegation of the General Assembly's legislative authority. It is further my opinion that the General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budgetary or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of the members of the General Assembly.
Of course, these are just opinions - correct or incorrect, you decide - by Virginia's AG, not a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court. Still, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out now, especially given Bob McDonnell's obvious hesitation to make a decision on whether or not to sign the transportation bill. Also, it seems to me that the AG's ruling could have an impact on future Supreme Court deliberations. Hmmmm.

P.S. Big winner here? "Sideshow Bob" Marshall, who requested these opinions, of all people. Wonderful.

P.P.S. Did the politics of 2013 just get scrambled? All I can say is, it's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out...

lowkell :: BREAKING: Cuccinelli Says Transportation Bill, Medicaid Expansion Unconstitutional
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Well, (0.00 / 0)
So much for Cooch "moderating" his positions. So much for Cooch not giving political rulings because he refused to follow tradition and resign as AG to run for higher office. Can somebody tell me how this will play in NoVA and Hampton Roads?

I'm not sure this is about "moderation" (4.00 / 2)
I've been dubious about the constitutionality of the transportation bill myself, especially after reading Paul Goldman's Washington Post op-ed.  Of course, Cuccinelli reached his conclusion for a different reason than Paul did, but still...I've thought for a while that this thing was vulnerable from a constitutional point of view.

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[ Parent ]
Then, (4.00 / 1)
No wonder McDonnell has waited to sign his "legacy" legislation. Perhaps he is desperately trying to come up with amendments that will stand up to constitutional muster and salvage the whole thing. I wonder if that is possible.

I was concerned with the fact that parts of Virginia were supposed to bear a greater tax burden because they have the worst road congestion. If we are to act as a state, then we should send state money wherever it is needed the most.

I still think that a gas tax, combined with a road use tax based on mileage driven in a year and checked when annual inspections are done, is the best way to raise money for transportation. Also, money for mass transit should be considered as equally important as building roads. But, who asks me?

[ Parent ]
IMHO the use tax is also a non starter. (0.00 / 0)
How do you tax based on quantifying miles driven in Virginia?   Just stick with the gasoline tax that you you at least try and capture use of roads from all sources, out of staters, etc

[ Parent ]
Numbers (0.00 / 0)
The gas tax on wholesale doesn't match the present tax from the numbers I have seen. Whoever came up with the wholesale scheme has snookered the democrats. If the rate on wholesale doesn't match the present rate then there has been a tax decrease. Adding to the general sales tax fits in with the repugs as they like to make sure the less well off pay some taxes.


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