Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A stirring message of "Taxation without Representation"

Here's Delegate Marshall's message in full - it's spot on, and we couldn't agree more. Having just visited the brand new Mount Vernon addition, and seen a spectacular Disney-esque display of revolutionary fervor and history (what a great new exhibit!), this message is quite timely.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2007
CONTACT: Delegate Bob Marshall, 703-361-5416

Taxation Without Representation Returns to Virginia

An Arlington Circuit Court today upheld provisions of HB 3202, (the Abuser
Driver Fee law), which allows the General Assembly to give away its taxing
power to unelected political appointees of the Northern Virginia Transportation
Authority to impose taxes on home, business and land sales; vehicle sales,
repairs, registrations, inspections; hotel stays and car rentals.

Two NVTA appointees are not elected to any office, and not one NVTA member is
elected to the NVTA! The NVTA can issue sole source contracts which have a
history of cost overruns. (METRO was a sole source contract.)

Over 200 years ago, American colonists went to war with Great Britain and risked
execution over taxation without representation. Thomas Jefferson's Declaration
of Independence called the King of England a tyrant for "imposing taxes on us
without our consent…and altering fundamentally the forms of government."

George Mason wrote in his Declaration of Rights that citizens "cannot be taxed
or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent, or that
of their representatives so elected." Contrast this with the unprecedented
claim supported by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Speaker of the
House that, "The General Assembly's ability and power to delegate taxation is
not constrained."

The delegation of taxing power to an unelected body sets a very dangerous
precedent. Why not set up a vast multitude of "authorities" with unelected and
unaccountable political appointees who can impose taxes for any purpose? Why
have a General Assembly or elected local governments?

Counties must ask voters for road bond approval via voter referenda, but not the
NVTA which wants more taxing authority from the General Assembly and eminent
domain power in 2008.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, created by the General Assembly,
short circuits the taxpayers' ability to control how they want their tax money
spent. This is wrong, plain and simple. Citizens deserve better. Those who
impose or raise taxes must remain directly elected and accountable to voters.

Constitutional government, established by direct vote of the citizens of
Virginia, must be preserved. We will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court
of Virginia on these and other grounds.

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