Thursday, March 6, 2008

More on the NVTA Supreme Court Ruling

You've probably read about what Gov. Kaine has said regarding the state Supreme Court's ruling on the NVTA and taxes. Click here to hear Gov. Kaine's response to the ruling (MP3 file).

WJLA TV-7 also has a story on how the already collected taxes are going to be refunded. Gail Pennybacker reports.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II, in a letter to the editor today in the Connection newspaper, provides an update of activities in Richmond, including the NVTA ruling.

"The big news for this week was the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling that the funding authority for last year’s transportation package is unconstitutional. I believe now, as I did when the bill became law, that the Court made the correct decision here.

"When I voted for the transportation package in February 2007, it was structured to allow the people’s elected representatives at the local level — members of the Boards of Supervisors — to vote on whether to raise taxes to fund transportation improvements for our region.

"As you may recall, the governor amended the bill in April 2007 to give that taxing power to the unelected members of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA). This was bad policy and unconstitutional and I voted against the governor’s proposed changes to the bill; however, the governor’s amendments passed despite my “no” vote.

"Giving the NVTA taxing authority was not constitutional and the Virginia Supreme
Court rejected that part of the bill based on the time-honored Constitutional principle that Virginians should only be taxed by people that they elect directly.

Also in today's Connection newspaper, in a commentary article Sen. Chap Petersen writes:
"Now that the funding for NVTA has been eviscerated by the Court’s opinion, the ball is back in the legislature’s court. One thing is clear — there can be no passing the buck. It’s time for the Assembly to step up and propose a solution that is neither solely regional nor shifted to localities. And somehow provides the $300 million annually envisioned by the original bill to specifically address needs in Northern Virginia. This won’t be easy."

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