Current Issues

Rising Electricity Costs

I would like to thank many of you for calling-in and sharing your concerns with me about rising electricity rates. I, like most Virginians, have seen my electric bill reach a record high, and I realize that most Virginians simply cannot afford such high costs for energy. Currently the power companies do provide several different payment options that can help reduce your bill, especially at this time of year when the cost and use of energy is at its highest. The Appalachian Power Company provides utility assistance to low income families and there is a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that may be able to assist you, or those that you know. You also have the option of requesting a payment extension if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are facing having your electricity shut off. You can visit the Appalachian Power Companies website, or call them at 1.800.956.4237 for further details.

Who Pays Taxes and How Much Overall

  1. Nearly half (about 47%) of U.S. households escape federal income tax because either their incomes are too low or they qualify for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their federal tax liability. [Source 1] [Source 2]
  2. Most who escape federal income taxes still pay federal payroll taxes on Social Security and Medicare, and excise taxes on gas, flying, alcohol and cigarettes. Many also pay state or local sales, income & property taxes.
  3. The top 10% of earners pay about 73% of total federal income taxes collected annually.
  4. Less than 1% of federal tax returns (i.e. the wealthiest people) account for about 35% of annual federal income tax revenue.
  5. About 3% of federal tax returns account for about another 50% of federal income tax revenue.
  6. The top 10% of state taxpayers account for about 50% of state income taxes.
  7. About 14% of state tax returns show adjusted gross income over $100,000, and they account for about 60% of Virginia’s annual income tax revenue.
  8. Virginia’s state income tax filing threshold is gradually increasing, and will be about $12,000 in 2012 (or about $24,000 for those married filing jointly).
  9. Increasing thresholds mean many more Virginians on the low-income end pay no Virginia income tax. Increases in the filing threshold will soon take 300,000 taxpayers off state tax roles.
  10. By many measures, Virginia is a relatively low tax, business friendly state, which helps to translate into more jobs and larger tax bases.
  11. Virginia also is one of the best managed states, which is a decent indicator that public services are provided efficiently at relatively high levels.
  12. A recent ranking by the Council on State Taxation on the degree to which states provide a fair, efficient and customer-focused administration of taxes ranked Virginia tied for second place with four other states.