RICHMOND (WUSA9) --Announcing his top team who will help him lead Virginia, Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe stood inside the state in the state capital as work began outside for his inauguration in just 52 days.
"My job moving forward as Governor is to grow and diversity the economy," said McAuliffe.
Paul Reagan, former chief of staff to Senator Jim Webb will be McAuliffe's Chief of Staff. Suzette Denslow, Chief of Staff to the Richmond Mayor, will be McAuliffe's Deputy Chief of Staff. Longtime McAuliffe aide and deputy campaign manager Lavar Stoney will be the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
McAuliffe received important advice from Governor Bob McDonnell on who should be the one to help navigate the state through the next sequestration...and that was to keep the same guy who did it last time. Secretary of Finance Ric Brown will stay.
Brown joked that he thought he could do the job at least as well as the last guy. He said that McAuliffe would be the 12th governor he has served, "six Democrats and six Republications."
McAuliffe said Brown will stay at least through the first budget. Gov. Bob McDonnell kept Brown on for some continuity managing a difficult economy through the recession, sequestration partial government shutdown.
The same day McAuliffe named his top leadership, two democrats from Northern Virginia filed legislation to repeal the Hybrid car tax which is part of the transportation funding law championed by McAuliffe. The Governor-Elect said he didn't think it was fair to talk about the legislation until his transportation secretary is named.
Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Delegate Scott A. Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) say a "tax on technology punishes drivers who choose to do the right thing"
Here's more from the legislators' press release:
Virginia's annual tax on hybrid vehicles was enacted in the 2013 General Assembly Session as part of House Bill 3202 (HB3202). A $100 tax was originally proposed by Governor Robert McDonnell, but was omitted from both versions of HB3202 passed by the House of Delegates and State Senate before reappearing in the Conference Committee version of the legislation. After more than 7,300 Virginians signed an online petition calling for the repeal of the hybrid tax at www.nohybridtax.com Governor McDonnell successfully proposed a reduction of the tax to $64 per year as part of a broad package of amendments to HB3202.
"The hybrid tax punishes Virginians who choose to do the right thing," said Delegate Surovell, "it is a tax on virtue." "Hybrid owners already pay higher personal property and titling taxes in addition to paying more for their vehicles in order to be good environmental stewards. They also already do pay gasoline taxes." said Senator Ebbin.
According to the Michigan Transportation Institute, the average fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in the United States was 24.9 miles per gallon in the United States in 2013. The average MPG of a 2013 Toyota Prius is 50 MPG. A Prius driven 15,000 miles would consume about 200 fewer gallons per year than an average vehicle and pay about $25 per year less in gas taxes (at a rate of $0.125/gallon). Many hybrids get much worse gas mileage, including the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid that averages only 20 MPG. The Tahoe owner pays more in gas tax than the average gas-only vehicle, and also currently pays an additional $64 annual hybrid tax.
Ebbin said that "The mileage of both hybrids and non-hybrids vary significantly. There are gasoline-only autos that get better mileage than some hybrids, and some hybrids, including SUVs, that do not get mileage as good as many gas-only powered cars."
"By setting a fixed tax and focusing on a specific technology instead of gas mileage, this tax is out of touch with the fiscal realities of driving," said Delegate Surovell. "It discourages people from making fuel efficient purchases."
People interest in signing Senator Ebbin and Delegate Surovell's petition urging the repeal of the hybrid tax pay still do so at www.nohybridtax.com.
Repeal of the tax generated bipartisan support during 2013 House of Delegates campaigns. Republican Delegates Tim Hugo, Barbara Comstock and House Transportation Committee Chairman Tom Rust all called for elimination of the annual tax.