Did you know that the state allows people to voluntarily pay more tax? It’s quite likely that you don’t — I suspect that virtually nobody knows about it. The Washington Times writes about how virtually nobody has ponied up, as evidence that nobody’s willing. I suspect that few people are willing, but without knowing that such a program exists then they’re certainly not going to give any money.
Remember when we all received those $300 tax rebate checks in 2001? I didn’t think much of those — it struck me a really poor economic policy — so I called up the IRS and asked if I could give it to them. Turns out, no. They’d just apply it to my account and end up cutting me a check, since I didn’t owe them anything. I got the same response from the Virginia Department of Taxation. Like many people I know, I ended up giving the check to a few different charities in my area. (As it turned out, they weren’t tax rebates — they were 0% interest loans from the feds, which we all had to pay for in our taxes in April 2002. D’oh.)
If the Virginia Department of Taxation doesn’t know that they have this program, how are citizens supposed to know? I’ve got a tough time seeing this program succeeding, but it’ll have a better shot if people know it exists. I’m not sure if this is the same thing as donations to the general fund, but I must note that the state lists just five donors to that program, and two of them are Republicans in the General Assembly: Sen. Nick Rerras and Del. Rob Bell.