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Jones: No to referendum

Published 9:42pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

Delegate Chris Jones is sticking by his opposition to a sales tax referendum in the face of a bill introduced by a fellow Republican that proposes just that.

Delegate Chris Stolle (R-83), who represents parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, has introduced a bill that, if passed, would ask voters in November 2013 if they would favor a 20-percent hike on their sales tax.

If a majority of voters choose “yes,” the general sales tax would rise from 5 to 6 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2014, in the 16 localities that make up the Hampton Roads Planning District, which includes Suffolk.

Reported estimates say the bill (HB 1450) could generate up to $195 million. The money would be placed in a new fund dedicated to Hampton Roads transportation projects identified by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.

A similar referendum in 2002 failed resoundingly at the ballot box. But this bill includes some new features, such as the dedicated fund for Hampton Roads projects.

Delegate Jones (R-76) said Saturday he is willing to consider raising the sales tax as part of a package of solutions to the transportation debacle but does not favor asking the voters to do it.

“The House and the Senate need to work on finding a comprehensive solution to address our transportation needs,” he said.

The problem is so large and complex that no one fix is going to do the trick, Jones added. He said a combination of additional revenue and “shifting our priorities,” such as adjusting certain tax credits and cutting other spending, is the only way to gain the needed funding.

“There are ways to get there,” he said. “I’m willing to sit down and figure out how we can do it, but I’m not sure in a 45-day session we can accomplish all that needs to be done. I don’t want to piecemeal or put a Band-Aid on it. It needs to be fixed comprehensively.”

Jones said Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to roll out a package of transportation proposals next week. The General Assembly session begins Jan. 9.

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  • jhuxster

    Here we go again–more taxes on an already over-burdened, over-taxed, over-government people. If you live in Suffolk you ALREADY pay the highest water fees in the area, the highest eating out tax in the area, the highest waste water fee in the area, the highest decal fee in the area, the highest garbage fee in the area–and you can be sure city council is waiting to take on even more fees to continue their wasteful spending. Not only this, when the new tolls hit Suffolk will essentially be cut off from every city in the area–unless of course you want to pay upwards of $10 for a round trip. Now, a so-called conservative Republican (two of them) are screaming for another tax increase. Here’s an idea–if you can give city and state government workers 5 1/2 extra holidays off in November and December you have TOO MUCH money. Manage what you have properly and prudently then ask for more!

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  • am

    The problem is Delegate Jones, you and your colleagues are NOT getting the job done year after year and the taxpayer is tired of the complete lack of effort. You don’t think that the taxpayer should have a say? How arrogent is that? The taxpayer will be the one paying for this hike so therefore it should be our say in what happend. Wait a minute, is it that the money would be placed in a DEDICATED fund for transportation? Is that it – something you couldn’t get your hands on (like the VRS) and divert the money to another project? You had best start listening to your constituents. “We the People” still have the final say.

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