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Votes

Raising Taxes

To the Editor

Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-32nd) has been a member of the Virginia state Senate since 1992. She is a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and you would expect to find her imprint on a number of bills impacting the Northern Virginia area. This is clearly not the case.

With transportation gridlock being on the mind of most Northern Virginia voters, one would expect to find a large body of legislation she sponsored in an attempt to solve our local bottlenecks. Again, this is not the case. On the contrary, her only transportation solutions involve raising our taxes.

In the 2000 legislative session, Howell introduced a bill calling for a motor fuels sales tax of 5 percent. Thankfully, even though her bill passed the Senate, it was killed in the House of Delegates.

Not to be silenced, Howell worked feverishly in support of raising the sales tax by 11 percent in last year's sales tax referendum. This was subsequently defeated by the voters in Northern Virginia by a 55-45 percent margin.

Sen. Howell has been consistent in wanting to raise our taxes. In the 2002 legislative session, she voted to authorize counties and cities in Northern Virginia to impose a local income tax of 1/2 of 1 percent, subject to a local referendum. Interestingly, no local jurisdiction has opted to give voters this choice. Given that real estate taxes have increased by more than 50 percent over the last four years in Fairfax County, even the most ardent tax-and-spend members on the Board of Supervisors did not call for such a referendum.

They should know, since they have first-hand experience with voter anger over the rising real estate taxes.

Given Howell's obsession with raising our taxes, one wonders how she can claim on her Web site that she has "succeeded in reducing taxes." Apparently our senator thinks that because all her bills calling for tax increases have been defeated, voters should overlook her track record.

In other words, we should simply believe what she says — and not hold her accountable for what she does. But Janet Howell is not fooling anyone. She tells us that she's working on restructuring Virginia's tax structure. "Tax restructuring" has become the latest code words out of Richmond for increasing our taxes. All the proposals that have come out of the tax-restructuring committee so far have been exposed as blatant attempts to use the tax-restructuring exercise to increase taxes.

Fortunately, on Nov. 4, the voters in the 32nd Senate District will have a real choice. They can vote for Howell and her long history of attempting to raise our taxes, as well as her record of non-accomplishments. Or they can hold her accountable and vote her out of office.

Howie Lind

McLean