General Assembly

Virginia tax machine runs over car owners

By   /  April 2, 2015  /  Local Government, News, State Government, Taxes, Virginia  /  No Comments

PUMPING UP REVENUES: New, higher gasoline taxes pale in comparison to Virginia’s car tax. The annual levy gives the state the dubious distinction of having the highest per-capita tangible personal property tax collections in the nation.

As Virginia politicians campaign for state and local offices this year, one subject remains untouchable: the state’s billion-dollar car tax.

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PA lawmaker again tries to pull state from ‘bottom of the barrel’ in terms of citizen trust

By   /  March 11, 2015  /  Accountability, Ethics, Pennsylvania, State Government, Transparency, Video  /  No Comments

Screenshot from Pennsylvania House video

One Pennsylvania legislator is taking a third swing at increasing transparency about lawmakers’ work, incomes and possible conflicts. “We’re at the bottom of the barrel right now,” in terms of how much citizens trust government, State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, told “We’re down there with the attorneys,” he jokingly added.

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Without accountability, some local Virginia boards go AWOL

By   /  March 11, 2015  /  News, State Government, Virginia  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Way back in 1999, the state auditor’s office told the Virginia General Assembly to demand accountability from the 700-or-so supervisory groups formed by local governments. Fifteen years later, state lawmakers and local leaders haven’t stepped up to the plate, and those decision-making entities, which controlled $450 million in revenue in 1999, are just as unaccountable when it comes to completing audits today as they were back then.

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Educated choice: Special needs vs. special interests

By   /  February 23, 2015  /  Arizona, Education, Education Blog, Florida, News, Virginia  /  No Comments

SCHOOL BOUND: Pending legislation would broaden educational options for special-needs students in Virginia.

By Kenric Ward | Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND, Va. — State Delegate Dave LaRock is making an impassioned plea for enactment of education savings accounts, which face intense opposition from institutional special interests.
His House Bill 2238 would provide an average of $4,000 annually to parents of special-needs students to shop for schools and services that best serve their children. […]

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Stimpson, Norquist: Beware of Virginia tax hikes

By   /  February 20, 2015  /  News, Politics & Elections, State Budgets, State Government, Taxes, Virginia  /  No Comments

TARGETING ENABLERS: Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform says deals made by Virginia Republicans have enabled Democrats to ascend to higher office.

“Democrats and Republicans are already coming up with ways to spend our money, rather than giving it back,” former Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson told after her endorsement by Grover Norquist (right) and the Americans for Tax Reform.

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Virginia windfall soaks taxpayers

By   /  February 18, 2015  /  California, Illinois, Massachusetts, National, New York, News, North Carolina, Taxes, Virginia, West Virginia  /  No Comments

ROLL BACK TAXES: Shelly Capito rode a tax-cutting agenda to victory in West Virginia last fall. The University of Virginia graduate is the first Republican to win a U.S. Senate seat in the Mountain State in 56 years.

State tax collections are running “well ahead” of projections, so Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to raise public-sector pay.

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