Attack Ad Criticizes Kaine’s Record on Taxes

The Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC, a group affiliated with the Republican Governors Association, has started running an ad criticizing Tim Kaine for his claim to have cut taxes during his tenure as major of Richmond. The ad eviscerates Kaine’s ludicrous assertion by pointing out the difference, as we have done here on the Bacon’s Rebellion blog, between cutting tax rates while assessments are soaring, and actually cutting taxes.

As the ad points out, tax assessments on Kaine’s own home rose 37 percent between 1998 and 2001. (Click here to view “Another One”.)

A lot of attack ads twist the truth. In this particular case, I’d say the ad is setting the record straight.

The Kaine campaign response to the ad: Change the subject. Here’s what Kaine Press Secretary Delacey Skinner told the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “What it doesn’t address is the reason [taxes] went up: Jim Gilmore, Jerry Kilgore’s honorary chairman, was passing on huge portions of the public education bill to localities, which is exactly what Jerry Kilgore has proposed doing.”

That’s another way of saying, “OK, taxes went up but it wasn’t our fault.” The point may be debatable, but at least it’s not out-and-out fiction. It’s time to drop the Tim-Kaine-Tax-Cutter claim, which has no basis in fact, and move to the Jim-Gilmore-made-it-do-it defense, which, though lame, has the virtue of not being outright fraudulent.

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  1. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Jim: I agree. In Virginia, we somehow seem to accept politicians making the most outlandish claims about their records. Worse, they all (both Republicans and Democrats) campaign as fiscal conservatives (e.g., “I cut taxes”) and can’t wait to do a flip-flop once they’re back in office. Look at all the campaign lies that were perpetrated by the State Senate leadership back in 2003! The likes of Chichester, Norment, Potts, Hanger, Stolle, Stosch, etc., all campaigned on a conservative message (e.g., “you can trust me not to raise your taxes”) and last year came up with a preposterous $4 billion tax increase proposal.

    What I find appalling is that no accountability is demanded or expected of our politicians. Mark Warner gets elected on a promise not to raise taxes and then immediately tries time and time again to raise taxes, until he finally succeeded last year (and again this year if we agree that the Dulles Toll Road is nothing short of a blatant and discriminatory tax increase).

    So life goes on. Pols in Virginia campaign as conservatives and govern as liberals. I thought Virginia was supposed to be conservative state. How do we end up with all these lying, dishonest, deceitful, and two-faced liberals in control?

  2. Steven Avatar

    The commercial is very effective with message linking Kaine to tax increases — the graphics are super. If you’re a Richmond resident, the ad hits Kaine’s home base. Tough stuff.

    So far, it’s the ‘best’ political ad in the Kilgore campaign.

    ~ the blue dog

  3. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    It’s also very effective because it morphs Kaine into John Kerry!

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    No, Jim, despite your sidebar I’m going to stay anonymous as long as I can, but of course I’ll avoid slander, calumny and other forms of fun.
    Let me see if I get the logic behind this silly debate. I have a house and it goes up in value. The tax rate stays the same. That is a tax increase. I paid $1500 bucks one year and $1600 the next on the same house and the same rate, so that is a tax increase. That is at the heart of the Kilgore argument that Kaine is “lying” about cutting taxes in Richmond. There was a specific comment in some story from a fool at the R Governor’s Association saying anytime you pay more that’s a tax increase. But wait, say my income goes up that year, too. Those tax rates stay the same, but my income tax withholding goes up. Is that a tax increase I can blame on the politicians? Should we require the legislature and Congress to revisit the income tax schedules every year? And if I pay $200 for a second identical suit rather than $180, and pay more sales tax, is that a tax increase? By the Kilgore logic it is.
    Five more months of this is probably going to be more than any of us can stand. Blue Dog has it right — the words are blather — the ad is running to show Kaine and Kerry’s photos side by side.

  5. Amen, anonymous! But prepare to get bombarded with talk of how your house isn’t a liquid asset (or something)…

    …even though you can refinance and use the equity to buy lots of stuff…fun stuff…

    I’m not fan of the property tax…I’d like to see it replaced with something else. But until then, we’ll continue this stupid song and dance where politicians accuse each other of raising property taxes because they didn’t cut them enough.

    Why not blame the people who voted against the 2004 budget for raising property taxes, while we’re at it? The money from the sales tax increase was put into a fund called the “Standards of Quality/Personal Property Tax Relief” fund and sent to the localities.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    The best was Skinner’s comment in the Daily Press on Friday, where she admitted that the ad was accurate.


  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anonymous: If your taxes go up because the value of the property taxed increases or your income increases, then your taxes went up. If you cut the rate of either or both but the net is that you still pay more, then your taxes went up. It’s up to the individual if the factual statement, “I pay more in taxes” is accompanied with a whine or not. If Kaine wanted to just be upfront, his tax ad would say, “I cut the tax rate in Richmond”. Same for Connaugton. What a difference which noun you use – means.

  8. Maybe Tim Kaine should say: “I am a socialist. I kill babies and work for the ACLU.”

    Maybe then the RGA wouldn’t quibble with his words.

    Anything short of that, and he’ll continue to get attacked.

    BTW: What’s with these out of state conservative elitists trying to interfere in our state’s election? Why don’t they go back to Nevada with their huge tax increases and legalized prostitution?

  9. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Atticus: I’m with you: it’s either up front, misinformed, or it’s a lie to some varying degree. Spin is insulting to the voters, and pols would be wise to recognize that.

    When everyone is spinning, it’s hard to pick a dance partner.

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