Friday, June 27, 2008

Pro Tax Putney

While I plan to put up a transportation post next week, I was surprised with one bill that was introduced in the special session. Delegate Lacy Putney, Chairman of Appropriations and longest serving member, introduced HB 6012 which would increase the sales tax by 1/2 cent to be dedicated to transportation costs statewide. It would call for a referendum to be held in November. The bill hasn't been acted on in the House Rules committee.

I'm somewhat confused. Lacy was one of the behind the scene voices encouraging Ralph Smith to run against me based on my alleged support for transportation taxes. On the one hand it indicates that Lacy understands from the spending perspective that we need more revenue for transportation. Why introduce a bill however that is sure to excite the anti tax crowd in Botetourt and Bedford? An act like this would surely interest a Republican candidate to run against him. But as Max Smart would say, "not so fast"!

The more likely reason is this is the first indication that Lacy won't run for reelection. There were rumors in GOP circles that he would be allowed to serve one term as Chairman of App. if he agreed not to seek reelection. Maybe this is slap at the Speaker for forcing the deal on him. Looks like 2009 will bring a contest in House District 19 which is heavily conservative.


D.J. McGuire said...

I'm not so sure, Brandon. One of the options Howell had been considering (at least according to the media sources I read) was a tax referendum (Wilder and Allen had proposed one on Warner's tax hike in 2004). Evenutally, he settled on the debacle of HB6055, but odds are he let Lacey float this as a trial balloon (there were some who were even considering it an alternative to actual tax hikes).

You seem to be falling for the notion that Howell doesn't like tax increases. I would have thought the HB3202 episode would have disabused you of that.

Brandon Bell said...

I get what you are saying and that is certainly plausible. However there are a lot of people that could have floated this rather than Putney. In the past he has been terrified to come anywhere near a tax increase. He makes no one in his district happy on this. If Howell asked him to put it in it was just poor leadership on Howell's part.

Brandon Bell said...


On second thought this makes sense that Howell would "require" Lacy to put the bill in as a backup plan. With the rumor that Lacy had to sell his soul to Howell to get Appro. Chair for one term he would owe him. Howell knows that Lacy's seat would be 99+ likely to go GOP in 2009 without Lacy running. Hence Lacy is expendible.