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Car owners still wonder, where’s the tax relief?
Friday, March 22, 2013
Once upon a time, Virginia voters fell for a fairy tale. The right governor could wave a magical tax wand and, poof, car tax bills would vanish into thin air.
For a while, that governor tried to make good on his promise to have the state pay every car owner’s bill from the local tax collector. So he skimmed money from their public schools and colleges and from the agencies that protect their safety and even from programs that treat the ill — nearly $1 billion in all.
When state leaders could skim no more, they finally admitted that those magical powers were but an illusion — the car tax could not really disappear. They promised to divide all that skimmed money between all the cities and the counties to pay for most — perhaps 80 percent! — of everyone’s car tax bill.
But as the years went by and more cars, and more expensive ones at that, were purchased, the state’s tax relief dollars could stretch only so far before snapping back and stinging car owners once again. This will be unveiled soon in Roanoke when car owners tear into their bills and find the state will pay not quite 60 percent of the tab, down from 65 percent a year ago. And next year, likely even less.
There really wasn’t a magical wand, no matter how tightly voters closed their eyes and wished it so.
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