Phew! The special sesssion of the Virginia General Assembly ended early this morning without the passage of a tax-hiking transportation bill; in fact, it ended without the passage of any transportation bill at all. After two weeks of hammerring by my friend D.J. McGuire and others, House Republicans replaced a tax-laden bill with one that didn’t increase taxes at all. But then the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, who have a great deal of trouble accepting the fact that the purpose of legislation is not to line their coffers, let the bill die.
This morning, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said, in part:
“I am very disappointed that the General Assembly was unable to make any meaningful progress toward addressing Virginia ’s transportation challenges during this Special Session. …
“Unfortunately, much of the responsibility for this failure rests on the shoulders of Governor Kaine, who decided to call legislators back to Richmond without building any consensus around a possible transportation solution. In my judgment, the Governor’s decision to call the Special Session without first developing a framework for success was a mistake.
“In addition, Governor Kaine complicated the effort to find a transportation solution by introducing a transportation proposal that had very little, if any, support in the General Assembly. The Governor’s bill, which relied on massive statewide and regional tax increases, was not even supported by the members of his own party, and it was clearly not the right solution given the economic challenges that Virginia is currently facing.
“I am also disappointed that Democrats in the General Assembly systematically defeated common sense Republican proposals that would have helped us address Virginia ’s long term transportation needs, at least in part.”