We wouldn’t want Gov. Bob McDonnell doing his part to stave off the worst consequences of global climate change, would we? Embedded in the recently and somewhat unprecedented transportation package approved Saturday by the Virginia General Assembly, a “fee” (notice that the Republican term for a tax is “fee”) was included that places a $100 annual tax on alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrids. I paraphrase the Godfather: “What have alternative fuel vehicles done to earn such disrespect?”
Two Northern Virginia Democratic legislators to the rescue! Sen. Adam Ebbin (Alexandria) and Del. Scott Surovell (Fairfax) aren’t taking kindly to McDonnell’s attempt to tax alternative fuel vehicles and have launched the web site NoHybridTax.com that includes a petition for individuals who would rather not see a $100 tax imposed for owning a relatively environmentally friendly vehicle.
Both of these planet saving hero’s also opposed the transportation package that was passed on Saturday. The package is supposed to raise $3.5 billion in new revenue for Virginia’s roads over the next five years (i.e., to squander another $3.5 billion of our taxpayer dollars over the next five years).
Groups like the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), those stalwarts of true environmental action, have protested the proposed tax on alternative fuel vehicles since the beginning of February (full disclosure, I think CCAN rocks). As with so many prophets, the seriousness and reality of their concerns appeared to have fallen on deaf ears until the moment of final reckoning!
Said Surovell about the proposed tax on alternative fuel vehicles, “Taxing people for doing the right thing is outrageous. We may as well start taxing solar panels and recycling while we’re at it.” Unfortunately, I’m sure a few Republicans in Virginia would think that’s a great idea!
Again, the Republicans who talk about energy independence in the same breath that they give their go ahead to tax fuel efficient vehicles in Virginia are so hypocritical that their hypocrisy almost seems beyond human comprehension.
Speaking on the floor of the Virginia Senate on Saturday, Sen. Ebbin asked, “If we’re truly working toward energy independence, why are we going to penalize investors in clean energy cars? …The Prius driver will pay more in taxes than the average sedan owner.”
Wait, I think I have the answer. Maybe another United Nations conspiracy is being hatched, this time for the Republican Party. That’s it!
Whatever the reasons, whether its stupidity, ideological blindness, financial connections to oil and gas industries, or anything outside and in between, taxing alternative fuel vehicles is truly absurd. It’s almost as if some members of the General Assembly attempt to raise the bar of absurdity a little further each year. If so, mission accomplished.