Say goodbye to cheap Virginia gas prices, if no action is taken soon

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginians enjoy some of the nation's lowest gas rates.

This week the average gallon of Virginia gas was 15 cents cheaper than North Carolina, and 39 cents cheaper than in Washington D.C..

One of the major reasons for this is a lower gas tax passed when the General Assembly approved its historic transportation bill in 2013.

But that soon may change because state leaders believed Washington would pass new Internet requirements.

Buried in the Virginia transportation legislation, which also raised the state sales tax, was a caveat which stipulated that if Congress did not pass "E-Fairness legislation," Virginia's gas tax would increase January 1, 2015, by 45 percent.

E-Fairness is a proposed bill that would require Internet sites to collect sales taxes when selling goods, as opposed to leaving it customers to report the sale on their own.

"The likelihood of them passing this is very low right now," State Senator John Watkins (R-Powhatan) said.

Watkins helped write the Virginia bill in 2013, which  relied on $200 million coming from the Internet Tax Collection law.

"It would've been probably a lot cleaner if we had just put the additional percentage in to begin with, and not base our assumptions on what Congress would or would not do," Watkins added.

At the center of the debate in Congress regarding whether to pass new Internet laws is Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Roanoke) who sits on a powerful technology committee holding up the legislation.

Supporters of E-Fairness, like LaDiff furniture owner Andrew Thornton, have argued Goodlatte should decide whether he is supporting Silicon Valley or the Shenandoah Valley.

Thorton said it is not right he has to charge online sales taxes for Virginia customers because he has a physical storefront in Virginia while websites that do not have Virginia retail space don't have too.

"It is absolutely not fair," Thorton said.

Goodlatte's office released a statement that said they were working on the remote sales tax issue and how to address it "while staying true to core conservative values and with the support of a majority of House Republicans."

"However, the state government passing a massive transportation bill, with funding dependent upon the assumption that fundamentally flawed federal legislation would be enacted, was shortsighted," Goodlatte wrote.

"I warned state officials last year that this was a very complicated issue and that they should not assume legislation would be enacted," he said in the statement. "Any concerns regarding the increase in the state’s gas tax have to be addressed by the Virginia General Assembly."

7 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    Just use the Zapper tax EVAISION SOFTWHERE. google it. And if Virginia simply enforced the taxes in the books already like enforcing vehike tags from out of state like a teacher that is teaching in our schools but has New Mexico tags. Or people who slap on a farm tag on a 70,000 leather Eddie Bower edition and so on

  • ken

    people gas is not cheap and has not been raised as a issue since obama took over.with the regulations he has imposed just get use to it.media stop reporting on 10 year old news.saying one state is cheaper then another is just dodging the real issue.the arabs are getting rich off us and thats just the way it is.when its 2.00 a gallon again then report on gas.its not seasonal,not weather or storms,not a war so just stop it,ok

    • Michael Hoenig

      President Obama has absolutely NOTHING to do with regulations; CONGRESS does.

      NO president has ANY control over the price of oil.
      Over half of our oil is NOT imported.
      It IS seasonal; blame the oil companies for that.
      It IS weather related (Hurricane Katrina destroyed an entire state’s refining capability).
      It IS war-related – the Gulf of Oman can be impassable, thanks to warring parties.
      Gasoline prices will NEVER drop to $2.00 per gallon again.
      Learn a few things about the world, OK?
      Include writing skills while you’re at it…

  • hjfrie

    Just great, barely can keep my head above water and now another tax increase. How about cutting all these freebie programs that I barely make to much money for and make people get their butts to work instead of collecting freebies.

  • J

    Typical lousy WTVR “reporting”. First, we are talking a pennies increase. They make it sound big with the “45% increase.” In reality it would add about a nickel per gallon. Gas prices fluctuate more than that every week! But it wouldn’t make for much of a story if they had a headline talking about a 5 cent increase in gas.

    Then there is WTVR’s editing. “Would of”? Seriously? What 8th grade dropout is transcribing this video to print? That is “would have”.

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