Taxation without representation:
In 2007, I voted no to HB 3202 which authorized unelected authorities, including the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, to impose various new taxes/fees: 5% on car repairs, additional 40 cents per $100 on home sales [equals $2,000 on $500,000 home], higher taxes/fees on vehicle registrations, inspections, new car sales, hotel stays, car rentals.
I was the only sitting elected state official to file a law suit to stop this illegal taxation without representation, even though it should have been apparent to most people that we fought the American Revolution in part over taxation without representation! (Now Senator Dick Black, who was not in office at the time, also joined me.) I raised $100,000 in private donations to retain counsel. I was opposed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Delegates and the Attorney General. The Virginia Supreme Court agreed with me 7-0 in 2008 in Marshall vs. NVTA, a precedent setting law suit. This successful lawsuit also resulted in refunding to citizens, money collected prior to the suit. (The Governor told me later that because my lawsuit delayed project expenditures for two years, by the time the projects went to bid, the costs were significantly less due to the economic downturn. This saved significant tax dollars.)
CONSISTENTLY VOTING AGAINST TAX HIKES:
During my 25 years as a Virginia state legislator, I consistently opposed and voted against all tax increases on the people of Virginia, and voted “no” to adding federal stimulus money to Virginia’s budget.
Separating Commercial and Investment Banking:
After roughly 5,000 banks failed during the Great Depression, Congress passed a law in 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act (named after its sponsors) to prevent commercial banks from high risk speculating to ensure that banks which financed home mortgages or gave loans to start community businesses were sound and not involved in high risk transactions that could jeopardize important assets.
Many economists believe that the stock market crash was caused by commercial banks’ speculative investing.
Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999, and many economists believe this led to the 2008 global credit crisis because it allowed commercial savings banks to “gamble” on high risk unregulated financial products including stocks, and financial derivatives which avoided the minimum bank reserves required which past experience showed were necessary to cover losses.
Hybrid commercial-investment banks lost hundreds of billions during the housing financial crisis, due to their holdings of securities which were tied to plummeting U.S. home prices and their investment in loan securities which depended upon inflated prices.
In order to restore confidence to the American Banking system, I would work to reenact the major provisions of the 1933 Glass- Steagall law.