Gas Tax Elimination Could Impact the Valley

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.-- Gov. Bob McDonnell has proposed eliminating the state gas tax, which is 17.5 cents per gallon. In exchange, he wants to raise the state sales tax from 5% to 5.8%.

Dr. Bob Roberts, a political science professor at JMU, called the tax regressive, meaning everyone would have to pay the same amount regardless of how much they earn. The gas tax is a user tax, meaning drivers pay it, while others don't.

The governor has proposed using the money from the increased sales tax for transportation funding. Robers said this helps people in suburban communities the most, like in northern Va., where many people commute to Washington, D.C. everyday.

He thinks it could be a tough sell in the valley. "The rural areas don't benefit from this because they're not getting most of the transportation funds as it is, so you'll be reallocating money from the rural areas to the urban areas. Now, from the governor's perspective, where is the most economic growth in the state occurring? It's in the suburban areas," Roberts said.

Gov. McDonnell will likely address his plan in tonight's State of the State speech.

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