Virginia Supreme Court Rules Against Northern Virginia Tax Authority

Yay! This case was born out of a ridiculous piece of legislation here in the Commonwealth of Virginia stating that that General Assembly would be allowed to grant the power of taxation to a non-elected body. Needless to say, the law was quickly challenged and the Virginia Supreme Court did the right thing by striking it down.

From Yahoo News:

Virginia taxpayers scored a huge victory today when the Commonwealths highest court ruled that the General Assembly may not delegate its taxing power to non-elected bodies such as the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Kristina Rasmussen, a plaintiff in Robert G. Marshall, et al. v. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, et al. and Director of Government Affairs for the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provided the following reaction:

Today’s Virginia Supreme Court decision marks a well-deserved victory for the Commonwealths taxpayers. America is founded on the principle of no taxation without representation, and Virginias Constitution allows the allocation of taxing powers only to directly elected legislative bodies and units of government. The law we challenged in this case (HB 3202) bestowed the ability to tax upon two bureaucratically structured regional authorities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Simply put, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) was not an elected entity.

“This ruling puts a halt to the insidious practice of subjecting the electorate to higher taxes at the hands of people they never had a chance to vote for (or against) at the polls. The decision also sends a strong message to the Virginia General Assembly that it cant wantonly disregard the rights of taxpayers in attempts to find politically expedient revenue sources. This case wasnt decided on a technicality, and the Courts unanimous decision stands as a serious rebuke to lawmakers. This need not have happened if elected officials had actually read the Constitution they swore to uphold before passing HB 3202. Equally important, the decision provides a clear warning to over-reaching legislatures in other states.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Plaintiff Hails Court’s Ruling Against N. Va. Tax Authority; Predicts ‘Major Benefit’ For Other States’ Taxpayers
Pete Sepp and Natasha Altamirano
National Taxpayer’s Union via Yahoo News
February 29, 2008

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