Lawmakers Consider Hybrid Tax Issue

Jan 20, 2014

The annual license tax imposed on hybrid vehicles as part of last year’s transportation-funding law may be on its way out.  The Virginia Senate has voted overwhelmingly to repeal the tax, which was never popular in the first place.

Lawmakers who did not want to jeopardize the transportation compromise last year now feel free to get rid of that provision.

75,000 Virginians paid the tax after it took effect in July. Bill opponents said repealing the $64-per-vehicle tax would subtract dollars from the state’s highway maintenance and operating fund, and it would need to be replaced.  

Senator John Watkins argued to the Senate that hybrid-owners should help pay for road wear-and-tear. “Here’s the reason we shouldn’t vote for it:  I don’t care what kind of vehicle it is that you have. If you take up space on the roads of the Commonwealth of Virginia, then you owe part of the fare.”

But Senator Adam Ebbin had a different view. “Sure, these hybrids take up space on the roads. And they pay for that space.  They all pay the gasoline tax.”

Governor McAuliffe also weighed in as he spoke with reporters.  “If it comes through the House and the Senate, sure, I’d sign it.”

The bill passed on a vote of 35 to 3 and now heads to the House, where a committee just approved a similar measure.