Governor proposes changes as General Assembly session begins - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Governor proposes changes as General Assembly session begins

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The General Assembly kicks off Wednesday, and for Governor Bob McDonnell, this is his last year to enact a broad array of reforms.

Improving education and transportation will take center stage on his agenda, but will he have enough time to take care of unfinished business?

Improvements to our schools and roads will top the session's agenda. We'll see this outlined Wednesday at 7 p.m., when the governor delivers his State of the Commonwealth Address.

Virginia has one of the largest and most congested transportation systems in the country, and the state will run out of money to fund it in four years. To fix this, Governor Bob McDonnell wants to get rid of the state's gas tax, and instead, raise our sales tax.

This means that 17.5 cents per gallon would go back into our pockets, rather than straight to the pump. To compensate, sales tax would go up .8%. That means if you buy a $200 iPhone, for example, you would pay $11.60 in tax, instead of the $10 you pay now.

McDonnell's aims for education are also clear. He wants to offer a 2% raise for teachers, but the catch is he also wants to make it easier to fire teachers who have poor performance reviews.

Texting and driving will probably be one of the more emotional topics brought up during the next 45 days. Lawmakers will discuss turning texting and driving into a reckless driving offense instead of a traffic infraction. That would mean a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.

Dropping the gas tax isn't the only solution Governor McDonnell proposes for fixing our roads. An extra $15 in yearly vehicle registration fees could be coming our way, on top of a $100 fee for drivers who use hybrid and electric cars. 

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