Governor, Attorney General and Speaker Challenged

MANASSAS (August 6) “Because the Governor, the Attorney General and the Speaker of the House of Delegates have joined a lawsuit against Northern Virginia residents to compel them to submit to taxes on the sale of homes and businesses, car repairs and sales and other taxes imposed by an unelected regional authority, I am compelled by my Oath of Office to stand by my constituents and have filed a countersuit to challenge the constitutionality of HB 3202, the abuser fee and tax increase bill of 2007,” Delegate Bob Marshall (House District No. 13th, R-Prince William-Loudoun) said today.

“The abuser fee provisions of HB 3202 are bad enough.  Most other provisions of this collection of separate bills that were rolled into HB 3202 could not pass the Assembly if considered separately.  Members were coerced into voting for the parts they did not like, for the ones they did.  The abuser fee bill passed this way, which is why the Virginia Constitution has prohibited this kind of omnibus legislation for more than 150 years.”  Delegate Marshall noted.Delegate Marshall noted that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Virginia’s Constitution “… establishes the procedures that must be followed in setting taxes at the local level. The use of any other procedure, even if sanctioned by the General Assembly, would be violative of the Constitution.” (Wright v. Norfolk Electoral Board, 223 VA 149)

HB 3202 relies upon members appointed to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to raise taxes, including two members who do not hold any elective office.   The Virginia Constitution states: “No ordinance or resolution … imposing taxes … shall be passed except by a recorded affirmative vote of a majority of all members elected to the governing body.”  (Article VII, Section 7)

Delegate Marshall twice requested formal legal opinions from the Attorney General on HB 3202, but received none to date.  The claims filed today by Delegate Marshall and several other Northern Virginia residents allege numerous additional constitutional defects in H.B. 3202.

Delegate Marshall and co-defendants* are also asking that Arlington Circuit Court judges remove  themselves from hearing the case because the judges are also defendants in the bond suit filed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

*Delegate Marshall was joined in his suit by former state delegate Dick Black, John Berthoud, Catherine Marshall, Edmund C. Miller, Marcia Miller, Kristina Rasmussen, Phil Rodokanakis and Frank Smerbeck.