Manassas Journal Messenger | On second thought…

Perhaps we were wrong about opposing the Washington, D.C., City Council’s effort to begin charging a commuter tax.

When considering where the tax money from hard-working Northern Virginia commuters goes these days, we feel it’s time to switch sides in the debate over the District’s right to tax the income of city workers who live in Virginia.

We’re still ticked off at D.C. Councilman Jack Evens’ silly comments about Virginians being “backwards” and “narrow minded.” But maybe some backward thinking is what it takes to have sympathy for something as bold as a commuter tax.

Richmond and Annapolis fear the idea of some of its citizens having their state income taxes diverted to the nation’s capital. That’s money out of the state tax man’s pocket. The last thing Richmond needs is a little less money from the economic engine that drives the commonwealth.

Suddenly the commuter tax is in play. Northern Virginia – long snubbed and fiscally abused by those “downstate” politicians in Richmond – is now a free agent.

Giving in to the Dee Cee quest to tax the income of commuters who work in the city would deprive Richmond of what it covets the most – the hard earned tax dollars of Northern Virginia workers.

Richmond would be required to give D.C. commuters a tax credit equaling the amount taxed by D.C. This would deprive them of revenue needed to balance the books. That means less money to be sprinkled in Southside, the Shenandoah Valley or Southwest Virginia.

Of course if Northern Virginians suddenly warmed to the idea of a Dee Cee commuter tax, the folks in Richmond would have to raise the stakes for the taxpayers of our area. Let the bidding begin.

To keep the state income taxes flowing into Richmond, instead of to that place north of the Potomac, a better formula for dispersing the region’s tax dollars could be devised. If not, then Northern Virginia commuters could send their income taxes to D.C., to build roads, hire police officers, fill pot holes and the pockets of Dee Cee bureaucrats.

It certainly couldn’t be any worse than the deal we have today.

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