Town Center in Winter

Town Center in Winter

Friday, March 1, 2013

Is the new Virginia Transportation Bill Unconstitutional? WaPo Article Says It Is

Here's what happens when ham-handed Virginia state legislators drive to cobble together important--indeed, vital--legislation essentially overnight after weeks of partisan bickering.  Indeed, it is hard to judge which is more dysfunctional--the US Congress of the Virginia General Assembly.  (OK, we'll give Congress the dysfunction award; the GA actually passed a bill, albeit apparently unconstitutional.) 

This opinion piece is written by Paul Goldman, a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, and Norman Leahy, an editor of and producer of the political radio show “The Score.” 

Va.’s transportation bill is unconstitutional

Those praising the Virginia General Assembly’s transportation compromise may not realize that the bill runs afoul of the plain language in the state’s constitution.

Virginia’s constitution is clear that the General Assembly can impose only uniform taxes across the state for similar activities. But the bill that emerged from the House-Senate conference committee last weekend upsets the historic balance between localities and state government; it contains new provisions about taxation, some of which would effectively set up a two-tier system for residents in certain parts of the state. It’s difficult to see how some of these provisions could survive legal challenge.

There are four provisions at issue. . . .
Click here to walk through the details. 

Will this mean that northern Virginia doesn't get its extra taxing authority to improve local transportation?  Does it mean the $300 million Virginia is giving to the construction of Metrorail's Silver Line is at risk?  We don't know, but we frankly expect someone will take the matter to court.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome and encouraged as long as they are relevant, constructive, and decent.