On Monday, Governor Tim Kaine released details of his latest transportation funding proposal, which will be considered by the General Assembly during a Special Session on June 23, 2008. In response to the Governor's proposal, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:
"Since he took office in 2006, Governor Kaine has relentlessly tried to raise taxes on Virginia's families to generate additional funding for transportation, even though such tax increases are unnecessary and are not supported by the vast majority of the people of Virginia. The Governor's most recent transportation proposal is just the latest chapter in this never ending saga and I seriously doubt that it will be well received by Republicans in the General Assembly or the people of Virginia.
“While there is never a good time to raise taxes, I am also concerned by the fact that the Governor and Democrats in the General Assembly want to raise taxes by over $1 billion at a time when economic growth is slowing, fuel and food costs are skyrocketing, and working Virginians are having a harder time making ends meet. Increasing taxes now will unnecessarily hurt the economy and kill needed jobs. In addition, Governor Kaine’s tax increase plan is regressive and will hurt those least able to pay the most, including senior citizens on a fixed income and young families.”
"Developing a transportation system for the 21st century is one of the major challenges currently facing our state. While transportation challenges exist in every part of Virginia, these challenges are critical in two regions of our state: Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Solving these acute regional challenges should be the focus of the General Assembly's efforts in the upcoming Special Session.
"In 2007 the General Assembly approved legislation that provided $600 million in additional funding for transportation on a statewide basis, and an additional $600 million in additional funding for transportation in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. While the Supreme Court has struck down the funding mechanism for the $600 million in regional funding in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the vast majority of the statewide package remains in tact and continues to generate significant additional funding to meet transportation needs across Virginia.
"If we are serious about finding a solution to Virginia's transportation needs, rather than simply in engaging in another round of political grandstanding, we must keep our focus firmly fixed on solving the main challenge before us: developing a realistic and constitutional framework for providing additional transportation funding in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. To try and expand these discussions to a so called statewide solution is unwise and will jeopardize our ability to find workable regional solutions for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
"I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to find workable regional transportation solutions for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. However, I will not support any effort to increase taxes on a statewide basis and I am confident this is a sentiment shared by a majority of Virginia taxpayers."