Skip to comments.NVTA to vote on taxes, fees (TAX HIKE in NVA)
Posted on 07/10/2007 7:11:14 AM PDT by Gopher Broke
NVTA to vote on taxes, fees
By LILLIAN KAFKA
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority is poised to take action on seven taxes and fees that could raise about $300 million a year for the region's transportation system. On Thursday the NVTA meets to make its decision after a public hearing in Falls Church.
Much of the authority's decision, however, rests on the result of a legal suit that it will file on Friday, according to members of the authority.
That suit will ask a judge to rule on the NVTA's constitutional ability to impose those taxes and fees, which one Prince William delegate calls a destruction of representative government.
"Just because you have a transportation problem doesn't mean you can throw out the fundamental laws that govern the Commonwealth," said Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William. "The end doesn't justify the means."
He said the Virginia constitution does not give a regional authority taxing power.
"There is no authority to grant taxing power to an unelected body, period," Marshall said.
NVTA members are elected by voters in nine member jurisdictions -- not by the region as a whole.
David F. Snyder, a Falls Church council member and NVTA representative, said filing the bond validation suit will expedite the court's ruling, as opposed to waiting for someone else to challenge the authority's powers.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has already directed its attorneys to challenge the NVTA's taxing authority once the NVTA files its bond validation suit on Friday.
It's better to get the lawsuit ruling out of the way before the NVTA begins funding transportation projects, Snyder said.
"We wanted to make sure they could have their day in court, but that they wouldn't hold up the process," he said.
He said he's convinced the NVTA has a firm legal standing to enact the regional fees and taxes.
"There's nothing in the constitution that prevents the legislature from acting the way it did," Snyder said.
Prince William County Supervisor Chairman Corey A. Stewart, R-at large, said he's heard through discussions with leaders from Northern Virginia that the fees and taxes will be approved.
"I think it's a done deal these things are going to get passed," he said.
In order for Prince William County's representative to maintain a firm negotiation stance for transportation funding, he'd likely support them as well.
Prince William County has some critical needs, he said, especially the Va. 28 corridor to Dulles.
"The widening of 28 is critical," Stewart said. "It's our connection to the airport and it's one of the biggest bottlenecks for commuters."
So far, the widening of Va. 28 is not on any of NVTA's plans, Stewart said.
The Manassas City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to direct its NVTA representative to vote in favor of the seven taxes and fees.
Vice Mayor Harry J. "Hal" Parrish II abstained from the vote since he is the city's NVTA representative. Councilman Marc Aveni voted against the measure. Councilmen Steven Randolph, Steven Smith, Jonathan Way and Andrew Harrover voted in the affirmative.
NVTA members from Arlington County, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park can enact some or all of the seven taxes and fees:
Grantors tax -- estimated to collect $171 million annually.
The existing grantors tax would increase by 40 cents on every $100 of assessed valued and would be paid by a home seller at the time of sale. A $400,000 home would see an additional tax of $1,600.
Rental car tax -- estimated to collect $9 million annually.
This increase in the rental car tax would be 2 percent of the rental rate. On a $39.99 rental, the increased tax would be 80 cents.
Hotel tax -- estimated to collect $25.3 million annually
This 2 percent increase in the transit occupancy tax would apply to the rental rate. The additional tax on a $99 room would be $2.
Safety inspection fee -- estimated to collect $16.2 million annually.
This increase in the vehicle safety inspection fee would be $10 per year.
Sales tax on auto repairs -- estimated to collect $33.2 million annually.
If this tax is enacted it would be the first time auto repair services would be taxed in Virginia. The 5 percent tax would be applied to labor and service charges.
Vehicle registration fee -- estimated to collect $17 million annually.
The cost of registering a vehicle in Northern Virginia would increase by $10 per year.
Initial registration fee -- estimated to collect $64.6 million annually.
This brand new fee would charge 1 percent of the vehicle's total value the first time it is registered in Northern Virginia. A $20,000 vehicle would be taxed $200.
You can share your comments with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority at its public hearing on July 12. Or you can send your comments via e-mail or mail by July 11. To attend the public hearing, which begins at 6 p.m. July 12:
Go to Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.
You will have three minutes to speak for yourself or five minutes if you represent an organization.
You can sign up to speak until 8 p.m.
Send your written comments by 5 p.m. on July 11 by U.S. mail to:
Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, c/o NVRC, 3060 Williams Drive, Suite #510, Fairfax, VA 22031
Or send them by e-mail to: TheAuthority@TheNoVaAu thority.org
For more information, visit TheNoVaAuthority.org
I lived in N.VA from 91-96 and the commute was awful. I understand it is much worse today. My solution was to become a “slug” and hitchhike to work every day to the Pentagon.
28 between 66 and Dulles is not a problem any longer...they’ve done a great job with overpasses and removing some turn lanes at key traffic lights.
The problem on 28 is between Manassas and 66. The road is 4 lanes but filled with “white panel vans” and “landscaping crew vehicles” if you get my drift. It desperately needs widening or some sort of off-peak lane reversal.
Bob Marshall is exactly right. Nobody gave the NVTA the authority to levy taxes disguised as surcharges. This deserves to be shot down with extreme prejudice.
Aside from NVTA having no taxation authority, I want to know exactly what they intend to do with that “$300 million a year”.
Mark Warner had his minions screaming bloody murder about traffic and roads to justify a tax hike (we’d be rid of the damned car tax by now), and got his $1 billion.
But I don’t see any new roads or traffic changes in NOVA. I DO see this new NVTA, and billboards for a tunnel for the Tysons Metro (more taxes). But not much else.
Just one of the many reasons, folks down here in Lynchburg refer to Northern Virginia as “Occupied Virginia”.
What have they done with all the taxes already designated for transportation ? The taxes they show are all percentage basis taxes, which means they already got tax revenue increases approximately proportionate to inflation on the items taxed.
If some other state or county program has taken the revenue for non-infrastructure programs, and people OK this grab for additional infrastructure taxes, the effect is overall growth in taxes.
If they get away with this, it just confirms their belief that there is no real limit to how much government can spend.
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