Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Republicans Oppose Tax Relief. Ignore Vote Rich Northern Virginia.

In a surprising move, Senate Republicans voted against and helped to defeat the so called Homestead Exemption. The bill would have allowed localities to exempt up to 20% of a home’s value from property taxes.

This legislation is a favorite of those living in Northern Virginia, many of whom have been grappling with skyrocketing assessments and tax bills. Although, those assessments may have begun to be checked by the softening housing market.

I am left scratching my head as to why Senate Republicans would oppose this tax relief. What’s even more strange, 6 Republicans who voted for the bill in Committee--Steve Martin, Ken Stolle, Mark Obenshain, Harry Blevins, Ralph Smith, and Jill Vogel—changed their minds and voted to kill the bill on the Senate floor.

I believe it’s a mistake for our Party to ignore such an important issue in Northern Virginia. Like it or not, this region of the State can make or break a Republican candidate in a statewide election. They have been breaking a lot of them in recent years. Even Ken Cuccinelli, the lone Republican member of the Senate from NOVA, voted to kill it. I can’t imagine what would have motivated him to do so.


D.J. McGuire said...

I'm guessing a couple of things:

1) This wouldn't exactly do much to reduce local government spending. If you don't slow down that behemoth, these exemptions will be "paid for" with higher property taxes anyway.

2) Said higher taxes would likely be felt more by corporate taxpayers, and I'm guessing they made that message abundantly clear.

I'm not really sure what to make of the exemption. New Jersey (where I grew up) has state-funded rebates for property tax, and it neither slowed local spending down nor provided genuine relife for taxpayers in the long run.

At the same time, flip-flopping like this just looks bad.

Brandon Bell said...


I firmly believe the approach to using tax relief to rein in spending is one for the graveyard. The feds cut taxes and increase spending by borrowing from foreign investors. At the state level we cut local taxes (car tax) by creating a $1.9B state spending program. The only way to reduce spending is to reduce spending or focus on stopping new programs (Universal Pre-K) in good times and bad.

That isn't to say we shouldn't reduce the burden of real estate taxes on the taxpayer by considering such an approach. Particular help should go to the lower income homeowner. If this isn't the correct approach then we should come up with one.

Overall the vote on this bill is just confusing with the flip flop by Republicans. I agree with you.

D.J. McGuire said...

"I agree with you."

Waht are you doing, Brandon? We have reputations to protect!


Brandon Bell said...


Oh yeah, I meant to say "your opinion is unbelievable--I am shocked!!! Don't let my agreement with you mask my utter and complete disbelief!"