Here in Virginia, we are fortunate to have leaders with backbone like Congressman Frank Wolf and Congressman Scott Rigell who are not afraid to stand up and tell Grover Norquist and his ilk to take their anti-tax obsession elsewhere. Unfortunately, it is Grover Norquist and his ilk who control the Republican Party at the grassroots, even in seemingly “hopeless” states.
I was spending time in Maryland, my favorite state along with Virginia, at the Montgomery County Republican Convention recently. A conversation between an activist and me entered the subject of Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan. She and I saw eye to eye and agreed that due to increased fuel efficiency and changing tastes that are moving away from driving, the gas tax is not a sustainable long term solution for transportation funding. We need to look for an alternate source of funding.
Things got weird when a long-haired, shaggy far-right extremist stepped into the conversation to criticize Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan. He criticized it on two points.
First, he wanted to eliminate the gas tax and replace it with nothing. We have heard that before. The next argument was bonkers.
Second, he is against the implementation of any sustainable revenue source that will grow over the years. His reasoning against a sustainable revenue source is that if tax rates stay the same, but the tax base has broadened and raised more revenue, the politicians are responsible for a ***tax increase*** because the government is bringing in more tax revenue even if the government never raised the tax rate. Therefore, politicians don’t have to raise the tax rate to raise taxes. If a certain tax starts bringing in more revenue at a fixed rate thanks to a broadened tax base, that politician has just raised taxes according to this far-right winger and deserves to be voted out of office.
Mind. Blown. By that standard, all of the successful Republican Virginia General Assembly members who campaigned on broadening the tax base and not increasing tax rates in 2009 would be defeated if this particular anti-tax, fringe right winger from Maryland had his say and as I have probed deeper, there are more of his ilk than expected.
This is why the general electorate does not trust Republicans to govern wisely despite all the unforced errors the Democrats make.