Raising Taxes?

Some Virginia agencies are still reeling from the first round of state budget cuts. This week, Governor Warner will propose a plan to deal with the remaining $1 billion dollar deficit.

"He's got to propose on Dec. 20, how is he going to close that gap," said political analyst Dr. Bob Roberts. "And he has said he's not going to cut aid to elementary and secondary education. So it's going to be very interesting where is he going to find the money without tax increases."

The Governor hasn't, but others have suggested various tax hikes to help with the deficit. Valley members of the House of Delegates aren't warm to the idea.

"No, I don't think a tax increase is necessary at this point," said Delegate Chris Saxman. "We need the fiscal discipline to go in and change our spending habits in Richmond."

"At this point, I wouldn't (support an increase)," said Delegate Glenn Weatherholtz. "I'd have to see it debated. Have to be thrown out in the General Assembly, I'd have to hear from my constituents, the majority of my constituents do not want a tax increase. I've never had a constituent come up to me and say please increase my taxes."

"At this point, would be no, except to increase the counties' authorities to have the same taxing authorities like cigarette taxes, those kind of things that cities now have, and if they want that authority," said Delegate Steve Landes.

Roberts calls a tax hike "highly unlikely." As for cuts, the Governor has said he would not cut "basic" state aid to education. But what if "special" funding were cut?

"That additional special funding is essential for a lot of special programs for a lot of at-need students, and there's going to be a lot of really shouting and screaming," said Bob Roberts.

Everyone is holding their breath for the Governor's proposals. The Governor will announce his proposed cuts this Friday.


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