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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

VA Sales Tax Opponents: It Makes 'Black Friday' Darker for the Middle Class

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Friday, November 27, 2009   

RICHMOND, Virg. - Opponents of Virginia's five-percent sales tax are using Black Friday to argue that the tax hits the middle class and the poorer the hardest. They seek elimination of the tax, and revising the state tax code.

Dan Shreve, a tax reform advocate for the Virginia Organizing Project, says Virginia established the tax to fix a budget emergency in the 1960s and since then it's never been substantially reviewed. Shreve calls it a regressive tax, which should be repealed because it hits the poor the hardest.

"There's almost a direct relationship between income and the level of the tax burden. The poorer you are, the heavier the burden. The wealthier you are, the smaller the burden."

While most people believe sales taxes are a simple way to increase the state's income, Shreve says they are incorrect.

"When you look at the exceptions, the administration and at the difficulty of auditing sales taxes, you'll see that it's not really efficient or cheap."

Shreve argues sales taxes are actually so complicated, the state has a percentage-based rebate program that lets merchants keep part of the tax to offset the costs of collecting it.

For more information, visit the Virginia Organizing Project at www.virginia-organizing.org.




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