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As the General Assembly session turns 100 days old today, the almost 7-year-old car tax issue has resurfaced as the hot-stove item that could be a key to resolving the drawn-out budget impasse.


Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester, repeated his support for reinstating the car tax Wednesday, even as former Gov. James S. Gilmore III denounced the idea.


Gilmore, who was elected in 1997 largely because of a campaign that promised an incremental phaseout of the car tax, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday, “It’s an outrage to even consider capping the car tax.”


“That’s the same former governor who met with the Republican Senate [in 1998] and promised [phasing out the car tax] would never cost more than $675 million,” Potts said. “Trust me, he said it will never cost more than $675 million.”


Following veto session talks Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee members discussed various methods of adjusting the car-tax relief program, which costs the state nearly $860 million annually — a figure that is expected to grow to more than $1.5 billion by the end of the decade.


The car-tax phaseout currently sits at about 70 percent.


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