Call for Change to Communication Taxes
By Chris L. Jenkins
Friday, January 27, 2006; B04
The House of Delegates voted 62 to 35 to approve legislation that
would change how Virginia taxes phone, cable, wireless and Internet
The proposed tax system would replace what supporters of the bill call
an antiquated mix of local levies. The bill, sponsored by Del. Samuel
A. Nixon (R-Chesterfield), would eliminate a combination of local and
state taxes and fees on telephone, paging, cable and cell phone use
and create a flat 5 percent tax statewide on all communications
services, including satellite television and Internet telephone for
the first time.
Supporters said that it was necessary to help localities prepare for a
declining revenue base as more state residents use cell phones instead
of landlines and use satellite television in addition to cable.
The state would collect the tax, and cities and counties would get a
share equal to what they collect from the local fees and taxes, about
The bill must now go before the state Senate, where a similar bill
died last year.
Satellite companies said the bill unfairly burdens their
consumers. Rural lawmakers said their constituents would be heavily
impacted because rural areas rely more on satellite service.
Owners of Dangerous Pets, Beware
The Virginia Senate has approved a bill to impose penalties on dog
owners whose pets injure or kill people. The bill was offered by
Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania) in response to a March incident
in which an 82-year-old woman was killed by three pit bulls as she
walked her dog on a neighborhood street. Authorities said the dogs
were allowed to run free even though there had been suspicions that
they had killed neighborhood pets.
If the bill passes, any dog owner whose pet injures or kills a person
or other animal could be charged with a crime. Penalties would be more
severe if the dog had been labeled "dangerous" by a court. Such dogs
would have to be registered with the state.
The bill, SB 200, passed the Senate unanimously but must still receive
the backing of the House of Delegates and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to
Red-Light Bill Gets Green Light
A measure to allow several Northern Virginia jurisdictions, includin
Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties, to use cameras at
intersections to monitor red-light running has the approval of a
A House of Delegates committee ended the 10-year-old practice last
year. They cited concerns over the privacy rights of
drivers. Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) said she felt it
was important to sponsor the bill, SB453, even though the proposal
faces little chance of success in the House. "I feel, and statistics
show, the program was successful," she said.
Staff writer Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.
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