Have I got a deal for you! Ken Cuccinelli has a plan to change Virginia’s tax system. He’s going to lower income tax rates for individuals and reduce the tax burden for corporations as well. One can almost imagine every former governor from Linwood Holton to Tim Kaine smacking themselves on the forehead and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The answer, of course, is that taxes pay for things and lowering taxes means paying for fewer things. So what does Cuccinelli propose to cut? Nothing really. He claims that he will “pay for” the tax cuts by eliminating state tax loopholes.
Does Ken need a concussion test? Once upon a time, not so long ago, a fair knight in the Kingdom of Fairfax tried to get the state legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot so voters could consider capping company and industry specific tax breaks at five years. Alas, our poor knight Sir Chapalot, failed in his quest. In fact, he got his ass handed to him. Despite the fact that the amendment would have almost certainly been passed by the voters it was defeated by the State Senate by a 12 – Y, 27 – N, 1 – A vote. Of the twelve senators who demonstrated the minimal courage to vote for this bill – six were Republicans and six were Democratic. In a similar vein, it was a bipartisan crowd of crony capitalist supporters who defeated the bill. Tommy Norment apparently recognized the irony of asking him to even consider a bill to limit corporate giveaways and abstained.
A long and winding road. Chap Petersen’s bill (SJ281) would not have cut a single tax break. In fact, it would have only asked the citizens of Virginia to vote on an amendment that would have required so-called sunset provisions on any company or industry specific tax breaks given away by General Assembly. And the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond is famous for tax break giveaways. After all, nothing says “thank you” to a gift-giving CEO or corporate campaign donor like a tax break that lasts forever.
And they all lived happily ever after. So, if Chap Petersen’s watered down tax break amendment gets rejected by the senate like a middle-aged man hitting on a beauty queen why does Cuccinelli think he can just wave his magic wand and make it so? He doesn’t believe that. It’s just campaign hyperbole. He can’t name a single tax break that he thinks should be curtailed. Instead, he proposes to establish a committee to find tax breaks to cancel. Presumably, that committee will then make recommendations which the General Assembly will ignore. Cuccinelli will claim that he tried, nobody’s taxes will go down and all the little politicos will live happily ever after.
once twice lots of times. Don’t be fooled by Ken Cuccinelli’s bogus campaign promise to cut your taxes. It will never happen at sufficient scale to even approximate Cuccinelli’s promises. He knows that. If the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond won’t even allow us to vote on a sunset amendment they certainly won’t cut the billions needed to fund Cuccinelli’s fairy tale.
A rogues’gallery. For those who are interested – this was how the Senate voted on SJ281:
YEAS–Barker, Black, Deeds, Garrett, Locke, Lucas, Newman, Northam, Obenshain, Petersen, Smith, Stuart–12.
NAYS–Alexander, Blevins, Carrico, Colgan, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Hanger, Herring, Howell, Marsden, Marsh, Martin, McDougle, McEachin, McWaters, Miller, Puckett, Puller, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Stanley, Stosch, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins–27.
– D.J. Rippert