Thursday, February 14, 2013

HB 2313: Higher Taxes

Virginia House Bill 2313 is a long bill about taxes...

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+ful+HB2313S1

More specifically, it's about raising them. Here are a few choice paragraphs:

"A. The annual registration fees for motor vehicles, trailers, and semitrailers designed and used for the transportation of passengers on the highways in the Commonwealth are:


1. (Thirty-three)* Forty-eight dollars for each private passenger car or motor home if the passenger car or motor home weighs 4,000 pounds or less, provided that it is not used for the transportation of passengers for compensation and is not kept or used for rent or for hire, or is not operated under a lease without a chauffeur.

2. (Thirty-eight)* Fifty-three dollars for each passenger car or motor home which weighs more than 4,000 pounds, provided that it is not used for the transportation of passengers for compensation and is not kept or used for rent or for hire, or is not operated under a lease without a chauffeur.

3. Thirty cents per 100 pounds or major fraction thereof for a private motor vehicle other than a motorcycle with a normal seating capacity of more than 10 adults including the driver if the private motor vehicle is not used for the transportation of passengers for compensation and is not kept or used for rent or for hire or is not operated under a lease without a chauffeur. In no case shall the fee be less than ($23)* $48 if the vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds or less or ($28)* $53 if the vehicle weighs more than 4,000 pounds.

4. Thirty cents per 100 pounds or major fraction thereof for a school bus. In no case shall the fee be less than ($23)* if the vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds or less or ($28)* if the vehicle weighs more than 4,000 pounds.

5. Twenty-three dollars for each trailer or semitrailer designed for use as living quarters for human beings. "

* Figures inside the parentheses are last year's rates, struck out and raised to this year's proposed rates. Lis.virginia.gov relies heavily on the "strikeout font" feature; Blogspot doesn't have that feature.

There are several pages, including tables of figures for taxes on trucks of all sizes. Then it goes on to consider sales taxes:

"§ 58.1-606.1. Additional local sales and use tax authorized in certain localities.


A. In addition to the authority set forth pursuant to § 58.1-603, a county or city may levy an additional local sales tax at a rate not to exceed one percent, to be used for transportation pursuant to subsection F. Such tax shall be added to the rate of the state sales and use tax imposed pursuant to §§ 58.1-603, 58.1-604, 58.1-605, and 58.1-606, and shall be subject to all the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations published with respect thereto. No discount under § 58.1-622 shall be allowed on a local sales tax imposed pursuant to this section. "

Several pages about that, and then we come to brand-new fuel taxes:

"Additional Taxes.


§ 58.1-2288.1. Additional taxes on fuels.

A. Beginning July 1, 2013, and thereafter, any licensee or person required to precollect the tax imposed on fuels under § 58.1-2217 or 58.1-2249 shall also be required to precollect an additional tax, which is hereby imposed at the rate established in subsection B, on the number of gallons of gasoline, gasohol, diesel fuel, blended fuel, or alternative fuel for which the licensee or person is precollecting the tax under such section or sections. The tax imposed under this section shall be in addition to all other taxes and fees of every kind imposed by law."
Patricia Evans shared the following discussion:

"Revenues and appropriations of the Commonwealth. Makes several changes to the revenues collected by the Commonwealth, and the distribution of such revenues, as follows:

The bill raises the registration fees for vehicles and trailers and designates these increased revenues for the Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund and the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund.

The bill raises the state sales and use tax from 4% to 4.8% and designates the increased revenues for the Commonwealth Transportation Fund.

The bill establishes procedures for the collection of the state sales and use tax from remote sellers for sales made in the Commonwealth, contingent upon the federal government passing legislation authorizing such collection. In the event that such revenues are collected, a portion of the revenues will be allocated to the localities with a stipulation that some of the funds be used by the locality for transportation needs and a portion of the revenues will be deposited in the Transportation Trust Fund.

The bill eliminates the statewide taxation of gasoline and blended fuel containing gasoline under the Virginia Fuels Act but leaves the current tax in place for other types of motor fuels.

The bill raises the annual license fee for electric vehicles from $50 to $100 and imposes the fee on hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles.

The bill repeals the application of the local sales and use tax to the sale of certain fuels used for domestic consumption, and replaces the revenue for the localities that imposed the sales and use tax with a portion of the new revenues generated by the bill.

The bill also makes several technical changes related to the administration of these provisions.

The provisions of the bill are effective July 1, 2013, except that the changes in the distribution of Fuels Act revenues related to the repeal of the tax on gasoline is effective July 1, 2014.

Status: (We oppose this bill)

02/05/13 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (53-Y 46-N)

02/05/13 Senate: Referred to Committee on Finance

02/12/13 Senate: Reported from Finance with substitute (9-Y 6-N) "

Nobody likes taxes much, and lis.virginia.gov shows that there have been a lot of versions of HB 2313. And there's a part of me that likes this bill; if people don't want to understand the benefits of going car-free, let'em jolly well pay...nobody is completely public-spirited all the time; but I do understand why many Virginians would oppose this bill.

I like the idea of electric cars. The current administration likes the idea of electric cars. Why should the license fee be so much higher for electric cars? Because the bugs haven't been worked out of them; currently, trendy though electric and hybrid cars may be, they're less safe than conventional cars.

But generally, and seriously...I don't like it, although I don't loathe it enough to demand that my legislators continue quarrelling about it. (This is the bill that made my sore, tired eyes tear up and spill down my face; I'd like to spare others this sensation.) All these taxes are far too high. I want tax and budget bills that show lots of deep cuts. For starters I recommend cutting out every unelected board, commission, or fund...and although I don't expect it to happen, I'd like to see a bill requiring that the resident of a county who has the lowest income and is not on welfare should be hired as a Frugality Consultant to ensure that no state or county office spends an unnecessary penny.

If you want to call your legislators to express opposition to HB 2313, here's the latest. The House and Senate have disagreed about it and have appointed a joint committee to work it out. Delegates on the committee are "Jones, Albo, Sherwood, O'Bannon, Ware, O." Senators are "Wagner, Norment, Watkins, Howell, Stosch."

They're supposed to hammer out a "final version" by tomorrow.