House Rejects Income Tax Hike

As expected, the Virginia House of Delegates voted Thursday to reject a plan to do away with the state’s car tax relief program and replace it with an income tax hike.

After about 45 minutes of spirited debate, lawmakers unanimously voted the plan down.

Republicans forced the vote on the House floor, saying it was essential to properly frame budget negotiations.

Democrats said it ammounted to an effort to put them in a political pickle.

“We all know why this bill is here,” said Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-Henry). “It’s here to embarass us; it’s here to embarass [former Democratic Gov.] Tim Kaine.”

Republicans denied that charge.

“I’m sorry if some of you are embarassed,” said Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-Salem). “It’s real easy not to be embarassed: you vote no and you just say we voted no. What’s so embarassing about taking a vote?”

The heated debate sets the tone for the remainder of the session — and for budget talks which were already expected to be tense.

Democrats bailed on the bill because they said there was no point in voting for a measure that’s dead on arrival.

“We will not walk the plank when that goes nowhere and we have been told in no uncertain terms that this bill will be vetoed,” said Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax).

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