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Press Release


Plaintiff Hails Court's Ruling against N. Va. Tax Authority; Predicts "Major Benefit" for Other States' Taxpayers

For Immediate Release February 29, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, VA) -- Virginia taxpayers scored a huge victory today when the Commonwealth's highest court sent an unmistakable message 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 Commonwealth's taxpayers. America is founded on the principle of no taxation without representation, and Virginia's 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. Even so, NVTA tried to levy $300 million in new taxes on local residents, and began collecting taxes at the start of 2008.
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 can't wantonly disregard the rights of taxpayers in attempts to find politically expedient revenue sources. This case wasn't decided on a technicality, and the Court's 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.
The homeowners, small business owners, motorists, and taxpayers of Northern Virginia look forward to having the 'null and void' taxes levied by the NVTA refunded to them."

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom. The group has over 9,000 members in Virginia. Note: For more on NTU's efforts to end unlawful taxation, visit www.ntu.org.

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