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


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 Shreve calls it a regressive tax, which should be repealed because it hits the poor the hardest.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

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