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Virginia Celebrates Fifth Consecutive Below Average COGD
For the fifth consecutive year, residents of Virginia celebrate a Cost of Government Day falling on or after the national average. Working until July 22, residents must work seven days more than the national Cost of Government Day on July 15. This year, Virginians celebrate their Cost of Government Day with California, falling behind 39 other states. The Cost of Government Day measures the calendar date by which the average American pays off his or her share of spending and regulatory burdens on all three levels of government: federal, state and local. This year, residents of the Commonwealth labor 204 days to pay for state, local and their share federal spending and regulatory burdens.
Since 2004, legislators in Virginia have increased taxes annually. Over the fiscal years 2003-2012 residents were hit with taxes totaling $6.04 billion. In other words, taxes increased by $759.64 for every man, woman and child living in the Commonwealth State. In 2004, Governor O’Malley saddled residents with over $1.5 billion in annual tax increases- implementing the state’s first sales tax increase since 1986 and raising the lowest cigarette tax in the nation. In addition to permanent tax hikes under the O’Malley administration, Governor Kaine’s Transportation Reform and Funding Act of 2007 increased costs on taxpayers even more.
After Governor McDonnell took office, responsible fiscal reforms took place and brought about an earlier Cost of Government Day in 2011 – giving Virginians hope for the future. However, the FY2013-2014 budget imposes $10 million hike on DMV fees and services, mirroring parts of Kaine’s Transportation Reform and Funding Act. Additionally, it gives state employees a 2 percent raise, while federal employees still remain on a pay-freeze.
While Governor McDonnell has taken strides to spending reform it is necessary that no tax hikes or fee increases are levied. Until then, the state of Virginia will continue to teeter on the edge of expensive Cost of Government Days.