Mark Obenshain: Do you feel overtaxed? You should

obenshain2As if we needed further proof that you are being overtaxed, a recent study from the Tax Foundation found that left-leaning states like Vermont and Oregon have less burdensome tax structures than the Commonwealth of Virginia.  “Tax Freedom Day,” when citizens have collectively earned enough to pay all the taxes that they owe in a given year, is a good measurement for the levels of taxation at the local, state, and federal levels.

Virginia ranks number 40 in the nation when it comes to a burdensome tax policy, behind even Washington DC–a liberal bastion no doubt–which comes in at number 36.  It takes 117 days every year before Virginians are allowed to keep the money that they earn.  In other words, you will be working to fund the government untilApril 27th.  And you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief on April 15th when taxes are due!

The Tax Foundation’s study takes into account individual and corporate income taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, BPOL taxes, car taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. This adds up to a lot of taxes!

As my former legislative aide and current policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, Jared Walczak, put it, “The message I would emphasize is, Virginia has consistently been a high-tax state, and I think that’s something Virginians don’t realize. You often hear how Virginia is a low-tax state, but that’s not really the case.”

When Virginians, on average, will spend more on taxes next year than they spend on food, clothing, and shelter combined, it’s time for conservatives to take action. Higher taxes and fees on business are undermining prospects for a true economic recovery.  In the Senate, I have consistently opposed higher taxes while looking for ways to reduce wasteful spending and to develop funding priorities.

In light of this latest study, I am renewing that commitment to you today.  I will continue to be a consistent and reliable voice for a government that focuses on core services and lives within its means.  It is critical for us to maintain the lowest possible tax rate while keeping Virginia one of the best states in which to do business.

Going forward, I will look for meaningful ways to cut and prioritize spending and put more money back in the pockets of working Virginians.  While funding for priorities like education, transportation and public safety is necessary, frivolous spending on pet projects and wasteful government programs is not.  I envision a Virginia that ranks among the best in the country when it comes to allowing our citizens to keep more of what they earn and pay less on what they own.  A sound economic policy calls for exactly that.

Mark Obenshain is a member of the Virginia State Senate.

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