1/22/2008Virginia: Dave Albo Backs Speeding Ticket Tax Repeal
Virginia Delegate Dave Albo votes to repeal the $3550 speeding ticket tax that he created.
Virginia state Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield) voted yesterday to repeal the controversial speeding ticket tax that he helped to craft last year. More than 177,000 voters had signed an online petition insisting on that the law be repealed in what became a top issue in the 2007 state elections. The House of Delegates acknowledged this public sentiment by moving swiftly in the new session to give preliminary approval to a measure that erases remedial fees from the state code while imposing a new tax burden on motorists.
"A number of us over the last number of months have run on trying to fix what I think is a good concept," Albo said Monday. "Given that it's impossible to fix it right now, you may be surprised to see that I will be voting for this bill to repeal it because I promised my constituents that I would not vote for anything that charged in-state drivers and did not charge out-of-state drivers."
This is a change for the traffic lawyer and state delegate who in a previous session had masterminded the legislation imposing fees of up to $3000 only on Virginians convicted of certain driving offenses. Albo explained this on the floor of the House of Delegates during a previous legislative session's consideration of abuser fees.
"The weakness of this bill is someone who's from New Jersey and blows through Virginia and gets a charge of reckless driving in Virginia, for example, doesn't have to pay this remedial fee because we can't charge New Jersey people remedial fees in Virginia," Albo said on September 28, 2006.
To address this problem and save his remedial fees, Albo on Monday attempted to offer a substitute measure designed to expand the reach of the abuser fees to include out-of-state drivers by calling them "mandatory minimum fines." The Speaker rejected Albo's proposal on procedural grounds.
Unlike the simple version of the repeal approved last week by a state Senate panel, however, the House of Delegates added two provisions likely to force motorists to endure long waits in Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) lines. HB 649 gives unelected taxing authorities in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia the ability to impose an annual $10 tax on license registrations and an extra 1 percent sales tax on vehicles that the motorist must pay in person or by mail to the DMV. The legislation specifically prohibits automobile dealers from collecting these taxes, which means the average new car buyer will not be able to roll the extra $300 in taxes into a loan or lease payment, as is currently done.
Upon final passage of the legislation by the state House, the state Senate would need to approve identical legislation before it could be sent to Governor Tim Kaine (D) who has promised to sign a full repeal into law. The Virginia Supreme Court is currently considering a case that argues that the legislature's delegation of automobile taxes to unelected bodies violates the state constitution.
View video of Delegate Albo's Monday speech from YouTube.