Congressional gridlock could raise Virginia’s gas tax

WASHINGTON – The price Virginia motorists pay at the pump come January may depend on Congress and an embattled governor’s ability to influence a local congressman.

Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte chairs the House Judiciary Committee where a bill to put a sales tax on online purchases has languished even after a similar one passed in the U.S. Senate in May.

Democrat Gerry Connolly, a supporter of a bill to tax Internet sales, says Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is embroiled in a gift and loan scandal, should be trying to get Goodlatte to move the bill.

Connolly says McDonnell is in a good position to convince Goodlatte.

Meanwhile, McDonnell says he’s not distracted by the scandal.

“I’ve got very good relationships with the congressmen, our staffs are talking regularly. I’m able to get the things done that I need to get done,” McDonnell says.

A spokesman for Congressman Goodlatte confirms that the staff has spoken with McDonnell’s staff about the bill. But the congressman still has a large number of concerns about the legislation and they are trying to rework it.

If nothing happens by January, wholesale gas taxes will go from 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent and the increase is likely to be passed on to consumers.

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