Candidate Kaine’s Promises

Help me out if I am missing something. A few weeks ago when Tim Kaine was running for Governor, did he promise to raise taxes (and fees which are taxes)? I missed it.

I saw TV commercials in Tidewater where he talked about cutting taxes in Richmond. There was a blow up when the Kilgore campaign said Kaine cut the rate in Richmond, but not the actual dollar amount of taxes and the Kaine folks protested – no he cut taxes.

I remember when Gov. Warner swore up and down he wouldn’t raise taxes – and then proposed we raise our own taxes in 02 and got the RINOs to support his largest tax increase in Virginia history in 04. Good politics, bad for integrity.

So, where did I miss that Tim Kaine ran on an increasing taxes platform?

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11 responses to “Candidate Kaine’s Promises”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Didn’t you raise the question in your last post? It doesn’t matter if he raises taxes and spends them, provided that the return on investment is high enough. If the money is spent in a way that makes us all better off than before, and if it makes us better off in ways we can’t afford to accomplish on our own, then it is money well spent – even if it comes out of our pocket.

    You and I both believe that is a dubious proposition. The state seldom spends our money as wisely as we spend our own. What did Bacon say? Individually we are wise, collectively we are blockheads. But sometimes it does, and usually on things we can’t afford by ourselves.

    Problem is, we don’t know very much about what works and what doesn’t. We all think we can scam an advantage by getting someone else to pay for what we want. So we form political parties and special interests to pick each others pockets.

    Then, so it doesn’t appear to be quite so avaricious, we cloak our intent in pious homilies and platitudes in search of some supposed social goodness.

    We would probably be better off if we decide what needs to be done, what can be done, and then help each other go do it.

    When we come to an issue that can’t be decided, we should decide to ignore it peaceably, each to his own. Sometimes the individual does know best.

  2. Ben Kyber Avatar

    Ray Hyde said… “Didn’t you raise the question in your last post? It doesn’t matter if he raises taxes and spends them, provided that the return on investment is high enough.”

    Yeah, thats my philosophy on taxes too. The only problem is, as much as I’m a big Kaine supporter and a dyed in the wool Democrat, I don’t think the return on investment in this transporation package is going to amount to diddly squat in the long run.

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar

    As I said, it is a dubious proposition. It all depends on the provided clause.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I would make a distinction between economics and campaigning.

    Taxes are a loser economically.

    I curious if anyone heard anything other than ‘tax cutting Kaine’ from the Dem side during the campaign.

    It’s an integrity issue. The fiscal one is settled for those who understand economics properly.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I should start proofreading. 3rd sentence. ‘I’m’

  6. Lucy Jones Avatar
    Lucy Jones

    It’s amazing to me to watch the emotions around “the transportation issue”. A governor was elected in Virginia largely because he said the word Transportation. He didn’t even really have a “plan”. He just said The Word and the frenzied voted. Now we’re surprised that he’s continuing down that path and talking about raising taxes? It’s like nothing matters anymore in Virginia except transportation and gay marriage.

    In some parts of Virginia we’re lucky to have pavement. How much more does every citizen in the state need to pay to keep NoVa happy when our part of the state has pot holes big enough to swallow small cars? When are we going to say the motel is full in NoVa and you have to wait for a room or go somewhere else?

    Why are we even talking about new taxing to build new roads, new transit, etc. in one location when we haven’t even figured out how to maintain the roads we already have?

    I would say that until a decent statewide plan is prepared, no taxes should be raised.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    The only candidate of the 3 who actually discussed how he would finance any of his proposals was Senator Potts. That alone made my vote for him an easy one.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Umm .. Lucy … perhaps you should take a drive into NOVA sometime. I would love to have pothole problems & little traffic.

    “How much more does every citizen in the state need to pay to keep NoVa happy..”

    NOVA drives the economic engine of the state and sends tax dollars throughout the state. We don’t get back every dollar we pay out, especially on transportation. You have it backwards here-
    How much more does every Northern Virginian need to keep paying to make the rest of Virginia happy…

  9. Lucy Jones Avatar
    Lucy Jones

    Are you saying that NoVa is pulling more weight than all of the rest of the state but still wants more? I can’t imagine how the people that have lived there for a long time must feel. They surely can’t want more business in the area…

    Instead of asking for more taxes, why not entice companies to go to other areas and take their traffic with them? When will the people of NoVa say enough is enough?

    And you forgot to mention, most importantly, NoVa sends lots of dollars to politicians…

  10. criticallythinking Avatar

    OK, I’m hijacking the comments just a bit here.

    Ray and Ben seem to suggest that government can legitimately raise our taxes if it makes our lives better by more than the taxes raised.

    While they also suggest that in this particular instance, they see no practical way that raising our taxes in this instance will improve our living standards by enough to be worth the cost, I’m curious whether that is the deciding factor in whether to accept government tax increases.

    In other words, Is it enough that the total return on investment be positive to justify any tax increase? Or must the state also justify taxes on an absolute basis, or on an individual basis.

    Actually, Ray literally said “makes us all better off than before”. I’m ignoring that because I don’t believe there is ANY tax increase that will make every single person better off than before. For road projects, it is trivial to disprove, because it is rare that a road is built without taking people’s property, and it is rare that some of those people aren’t happy the way things are, don’t want a new road, and certainly don’t want their houses taken.

    But is it OK to tax people who voted for the candidate who promised not to raise ANY taxes for transportation until the trust fund was locked up, simply because commuters and those who drive in congested areas will be much better off with new roads?

    I ask the question seriously, and I’m not sure what the answer will be.

  11. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Tim Kaine misled us on the lockbox issue. He said he would do one thing and did something else.

    At the time he raised the lockbox issue some said he was unrealistic because of the time frame. Now that he has agreed with them they are still unhappy. They misled us on the lockbox issue as well.

    They didn’t care about the lockbox: they didn’t want Kaine and didn’t want taxes. They should have argued those points, and won or lost gracefully on the merits. Instead, they lost and they are disgraceful as well.


    I do think we can do a better job of measuring things and making decisions accordingly. We can’t have a social deal that everyone is satisfied with, but we can do better.

    If we take someone’s house for a road, we can’t pay him for the emotional investment he has in his home: we have no way to measure it.

    We can make sure he gets an equivalent home without harm. Just paying him an amount for similar houses freely traded is not fair because his house was not freely traded. His moving expenses and transfer costs should be covered. If he has to take a new mortgage at a higher rate, then that should be covered. If he can show that he was grossly mistreated, then his legal expenses should be covered. Those are things we can measure, and it is only fair.

    We should attempt to compensate those who come out the losers on a social transaction, while at the same time discounting outrageous claims. If we can compensate the losers and still come out winners, then it is a good social contract, otherwise it is not. The essence of a deal is that both sides come away feeling that they are winners.

    As it stands now there is far too much of a winner take all attitude among stakeholders and special interests. Some of that is politics and it is unavoidable, but some of it is just dishonesty.

    We argue that roads only benefit those who happen to have property in the way, that roads cause development, and therefore those that benefit should pay the costs. But if we make them pay the costs, where is the benefit we were complaining about providing?

    Then we turn around and say that Metro related development is a benefit provided by Metro, not a disbenefit as it is for roads. In fact, Metro can’t exist without the density, so development is a subsidy to Metro, not a benefit provided by Metro.

    OK, some would say there is a difference in the quality of development, but even so, those that benefit should pay.

    Metro has not relieved congestion. As Lucy points out, at some point we will have all we can stand and go someplace else. That is true with or without Metro, so we can’t say Metro reduces sprawl either. Since it didn’t reduce congestion and didn’t reduce sprawl, we built Metro for nothing.

    What Metro does do is allow us to cram more people into one place than we could have with cars alone. So the question is does metro pay for itself with its own marginal benefits and costs.

    Obviously not, or Lucy wouldn’t be paying to help support it. The supporters of Metro are orders of magnitude higher than the users. So small payments by many are benefitting a few. That is not the way it is supposed to work.

    But it is not a one way flow. Some claim that NOVA pays far more to the State in taxes than it gets back. OK, NOVA citizens earn more. If you believe EMR’s arguments then NOVA should be able to export money, because the high density allows more efficient delivery of services. We know that is not true, we’d have to tear down a lot more houses to build a mile of road, so rather than having Lucy support Metro, it would be wiser to send our surplus business and traffic to someplace that has the capacity, as she suggests.

    One thing Metro did do, was enable more building here before we were forced to spread out. We delayed spreading the benefits of jobs and homes to Lucy’s area. The least we can do is send money.

    But we need to keep it here because our needs are so great and our costs are so high: again you have to figure that she is right, it would be more economical to send the business and traffic someplace else.

    But vrtually everywhere has some kind of growth curb, precisely because they don’t want to be like NOVA. They just want us to keep sending money.

    Kaine must have heard different answers at each stop. The most likely correct answer to anyone that says there is only one answer is, “You’re Wrong”.

    It won’t do us any good to measure better, if we don’t measure fairly.

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