VA Senate Passes Income Tax for Transportation Bill

Del. Mark Herring voted for the proposal that would allow localities to impose a 1 percent income tax without voter approval.

The Virginia State Senate has passed a bill that would enable Virginia localities to create a local income tax to fund improvements to transportation infrastructure.

Under the legislation, SB 1313, which is now awaiting review in the House of Delegates, local governments would be allowed to establish an income tax of up to 1 percent without approval from voters.

The bill would affect the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. 

Current Virginia law dictates a jurisdiction’s residents must approve a local income tax in a referendum. The majority of Virginia localities, like Fairfax County, rely on road maintenance from the state, with the exception of some areas including Arlington County, Henrico County in Richmond and some cities in the Hampton Roads District.

Sen. Mark Herring (D-Herndon, Loudoun) supported the bill, as did Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston). 

Fairfax Sen. Chap Petersen, who represents Vienna, has been vocal in his opposition to the bill, which passed the senate in a 27-11 vote.

“This bill represents the worst possible deal for the Northern Virginia taxpayer,” Petersen said in a statement.

After Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $3.1 billion transportation funding package failed to the pass the Senate, Petersen worried this new legislation would be deemed the new fix to the state’s ongoing transportation problems.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said county staff had briefed her on the bill, but was unsure whether officials would support or consider such a tax should the bill become law.

“This was a surprise to us,” she said. “It was not something we expected to be introduced.”

County officials haven’t explored income tax referenda in the past because voters would not have supported it, she said.

“It’s had a lot of strings attached to it that would ensure its defeat,” she said.

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Bob Bruhns February 11, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Hmm, so this DOES seem to apply to Northern Virginia. I guess we'll be hearing more about this Christmas present to our spendaholic 'leaders', as taxes come due. And it was a surprise to our Board of Supervisors? I wonder if we were supposed to find out about this 'surprise' before it became law.
No Toll Increase February 11, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Why should we pay another 1% in income taxes, another .8% in sales taxes (16% increase) under the Governor's plan, pay insane tolls, and then suffer in congestion because all the above is wasted of politicians' pet projects instead of the biggest congestion relief for the buck... Contact your Delegate and tell them to SAY NO to another tax increase!
Walter Hadlock February 12, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I'm very disappointed in Senator Herring. For someone who purports to stand up for the people, by voting for this bill he shows he does not have much faith in the voting public. This bill "...would eliminate the requirement that the local income tax must be approved by a referendum in the county (Fairfax and Loudoun are two political subdivisions affected by this bill) or city before it may be imposed within such county or city". [Taken from the Virginia Department of Taxation 2013 Fiscal Impact Statement.] If this were to pass, local jurisdictions might be tempted to make an end run around the voters. I will be sending a note to Delegate Rust to oppose this if it reaches the floor of the House of Delegates.


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