Six months out from Election Day both candidates in the race for Virginia governor have revealed some of the ideas they want you to support.
Monday, it was Democrat Terry McAuliffe announcing his platform before a group at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Tuesday, it was Republican Ken Cuccinelli outlining his new policy to boost business and job growth in the commonwealth.
In Richmond Tuesday, Cuccinelli laid out his "Economic Growth and Virginia Jobs Plan." He wants to limit growth in the state budget, and cut personal and corporate income taxes. Over four years, those income tax cuts would amount to a $1.4 billion decrease in general fund revenue, made up for in part by closing tax loopholes.
Cuccinelli says the plan will help Virginia keep existing businesses and attract new ones.
"Virginia is in a competition just like businesses are in a competition, and we have plenty of competitors. We have 49 other states and we have opportunities around the world where businesses can grow," he said.
Both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe also want to replace three different business taxes they say hinder business growth. But despite those modest similarities, Democrats say Cuccinelli's income tax cut proposals would force the state and localities into a budget crisis - calling his proposal Tuesday "political gimmickry."
Richmond, Va. – Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli today held a press conference at a local Richmond business to unveil his Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan. Cuccinelli's plan is designed to make Virginia more attractive to job creators and allow middle class workers and families to take home more of their hard-earned paychecks, while reducing the size and scope of state government which impedes economic growth.
"During my campaign for Governor, as well as my time as Attorney General and in the state Senate, it has always been important to me to get government out of the way and allow the free market to create jobs for unemployed Virginians. That is why it was so important our first policy announcement was the Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan.
"The plan is driven by three over-arching goals: Make Virginia more attractive to job creators and open to business development; allow Virginia workers and families to take home more of their hard-earned pay; and put a cap on government spending so that it doesn't outpace the growth of inflation plus population.
"The task of writing this plan was not taken lightly. We spoke to Virginia job creators, policy leaders and middle class families because we wanted to ensure the plan made sense and was applicable to regular Virginians, not just policy wonks.
"If I am elected governor, this plan will be the cornerstone of my term. I will work closely with the business community and Virginia General Assembly to make this policy a reality because I know this is what the Commonwealth needs to attract and grow businesses, and to stay competitive with neighboring states," said Ken Cuccinelli.
Specifically, the plan includes the following proposals:
- Reduce the individual income tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent over four years;
- Establish a Small Business Tax Relief Commission (to be launched in December 2013) with the following strategic goals:
- Ensure state government growth does not exceed inflation plus population growth;
- Reduce the corporate income tax from 6 percent to 4 percent
Cuccinelli unveiled his Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan at SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt, a Richmond based frozen-yogurt shop established in 2009 and now franchised throughout the United States. SweetFrog makes community outreach and involvement a top priority.
The plan can be found online here.
Statement from McAuliffe Policy Director Evan Feinman on Ken Cuccinelli's tax announcement:
While Ken Cuccinelli has focused his career on divisive social issues like restricting women's health, his new foray into economic issues shows that he puts ideology ahead of sound fiscal management in Virginia. Cuccinelli's proposal would lead to a budget crisis that could undermine education, force localities to dramatically raise property taxes, and threaten the Commonwealth's bond rating. Under Governors Warner, Kaine and McDonnell, Virginia has maintained its reputation as a well-managed state but Cuccinelli's unrealistic and ideological plan would undermine that tradition. Virginians know there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Equally unrealistic is Cuccinelli's bizarre attempt to claim that he supported the recent work of Governor McDonnell. Cuccinelli's attempts to claim credit for McDonnell's signature transportation compromise have been mocked in the past since it is well-documented Cuccinelli was one of the extremists who tried to derail the bipartisan plan.
Terry McAuliffe has proposed realistic, mainstream solutions to make Virginia the best for business including responsible local tax reform, strengthening workforce training, streamlining economic development and diversifying Virginia's economy. While Cuccinelli tried to stop Governor McDonnell's transportation plan at each and every step, Terry was proud to encourage passage of the bipartisan compromise that will reduce gridlock and improve competitiveness.