Shoppers Discuss Potential Sales Tax Increase

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

The Virginia State Senate passed a transportation reform bill in the final hours of its session on Saturday.

The measure passed with a 25-15 vote and will now head to Governor Bob McDonnell's desk for approval.

Under the bill, Virginia's 17.5-cents-per gallon retail gasoline tax will be replaced with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline. This means drivers would be paying six cents less at the pump.

Diesel fuel users would have to pay a 6 percent levy. So instead of paying 17.5-cents per gallon, they would pay nearly 23 cents.

The transportation reform bill would increase sales tax, which usually covers everything except for food and drinks, from five to 5.3 percent.

For instance, if someone spends $332 dollars, he would pay $16.60 with a five percent tax. However, with a 5.3 percent tax, the shopper would be paying a dollar more.

Rebecca Mowery who plans to remodel her kitchen said this could impact her spending.

"For me it would make a big difference in the amount of money that we would be spending right now for the kitchen remodel," said Mowery.

Mowery said just the appliances cost almost $6,000 and if taxes are higher, her bill could be even larger.

"When all that is added up, it will probably make a substantial amount increase," said Mowery.

According to Gov. McDonnell, this reform would be the first long-term, sustainable and comprehensive transportation funding plan in Virginia in 27 years.

Matt Lindquist who lives in Northern Virginia said fixing the roads is long overdue.

"Traffic is terrible on 66 and route 50. It's awful out there so we need something," said Lindquist.

However he said making everyone pay for the roads is not the right way to fix the problem.

"Well because some people ride a bike, they choose to ride a bike or they choose to walk to help the environment. They probably shouldn't pay for something they're not using or something they choose not to use," said Lindquist.

Mowery said if the increase in sales tax is needed, then it should be done.

"I guess eventually they have to be out on the road to get from one place to the other," said Mowery.

The bill will go to the Governor's desk for approval.

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