Virginia Governor Open to Repeal of Abusive Driver Surcharges

January 15, 2008

We’ve written before on Virginia’s “abusive driver fees” and “civil remedial fees,” and why they are just a tax on traffic offenses. Because the revenue goes to general state spending, they are properly called a “tax” and not “fees.” We’ve covered how this is an example of politicians targeting easy revenue sources for punitive taxes, the public outcry over the huge assessments, and finally, the pending court challenges.

After defending the surcharges for months, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (D) may be ready to give up on them. At the end of yesterday’s State of the State Address, he said he would sign a repeal:

The imposition of higher fees on drivers who commit serious traffic offenses was designed to both increase transportation revenue and encourage safer driving habits.

After six months, neither goal has come to pass. The abusive driver fees will not generate the amount of revenue we had hoped. And neither the number of traffic tickets issued nor the tragic number of deaths on Virginia highways last year indicate that the fees have improved highway safety.

Virginia citizens in huge numbers have told us that the fees should be repealed. We should listen to them. I hope that this session, you will send to my desk a bill fully repealing the abusive driver fees.

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