Americans For Prosperity: “Real Facts Real Solutions”

In an ad attacking Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s record as governor of Virginia, Americans for Prosperity combines misplaced blame for financial woes caused by declining revenues in the Great Recession with outright falsehoods about Kaine’s response. Faced with impending shortfalls, Kaine cut billions in spending to leave Virginia with a balanced budget, not with the $4.2 billion shortfall AFP claims. Meanwhile, the most significant of the tax increases Kaine proposed (many were never enacted) were attempts to pay for desperately needed transportation upgrades that Virginia’s Republicans wanted to finance by going deeper into debt.

Kaine Didn’t Leave Virginia With A Shortfall – He Cut Billions To Close Budget Gaps Caused By Recession

Shortfalls Caused By The Recession Were Closed By The Time Kaine Left Office. From a article about a similar ad: “Virginia adopts a new budget every two years, and amendments are added to it in the odd year to square the numbers. There’s no question that Virginia experienced serious budget shortfalls during the recession due to much lower-than-anticipated revenues. But the shortfall was closed by the end of the biennium. The same Virginian-Pilot story in which Kaine talks about a $3.7 billion shortfall, notes that the stimulus provided $1 billion in budget relief, and that lawmakers were forced to cut $2.7 billion to balance the budget, as required by the state constitution. Responding to the ad on Nov. 10, Kaine told WVEC ABC 13: ‘I left office with two balanced budgets that I submitted because you have to, by law, submit balanced budgets.’” [, 11/15/11]

Kaine Had Proposed Even More Difficult Cuts Before Federal Stimulus Money Came Through. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “States were seriously considering even more severe cuts than were enacted in such services as health care, education, and public safety prior to passage of federal stimulus legislation. Those cuts very likely would have taken place in the absence of the federal aid. […] In both New York and Virginia, major cuts that had been proposed before the federal assistance was made available were never enacted. Virginia is using the fiscal assistance to keep open three facilities serving persons with mental health needs, reverse a planned cut in Medicaid payments to hospitals, lessen a reduction in aid to universities that almost certainly would have led to large tuition increases, avoid a major education budget cut, and avoid a funding cut that would have resulted in the loss of an estimated 310 deputy sheriffs’ positions. The governor had proposed these cuts before the federal funds became available. […] The legislature likely would have approved the governor’s proposed cuts had recovery act funding not been available. In fact, there is good reason to think it would have gone even further. Between December 2008 (when the governor outlined his proposals) and March 2009, the Virginia revenue forecast was revised downward even further by over $800 million. The legislature also rejected the governor’s proposal to raise the cigarette tax. Thus, the federal recovery funding helped to avert not only the governor’s proposed cuts, but also the additional cuts that would have resulted from the further decline in the revenue forecast and the legislature’s decision not to raise the cigarette tax.” [, 6/29/09]

Kaine Proposed Tax Increase To Pay For Transportation Upgrades That Virginia’s GOP House Wanted To Finance With More Borrowing

Kaine Proposed Spending Budget Surplus On Roads, Tax Breaks, Education, And Environment. From the Washington Times: “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, outlining his 2007 budget amendments yesterday, proposed spending $1 billion of the state’s surplus on roads, tax breaks for the working poor, teacher pay raises and cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. […] The governor’s amendments include a one-time infusion of about $500 million for transportation, a $250 million bond package for upgrading water treatment plants across the Bay watershed and increasing the minimum income tax filing threshold for the state’s poorest workers.” [Washington Times, 12/15/06]

Virginia GOP Wanted Kaine To Borrow Money For More Transportation Spending. From the Virginian-Pilot: “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s proposals for spending a $1 billion budget surplus received a lukewarm reaction Friday from top Republicans, who are girding for an election-year battle. Transportation remained the focus of disagreement. The Democratic governor wants to spend half the surplus on road and rail projects. Some Republicans said that is too little and chided Kaine for refusing to borrow money to ease congestion. […] Republicans, under pressure to find consensus on the state’s transportation gridlock, said they are disappointed that Kaine doesn’t want to borrow money for roads. They noted that the governor is backing new debt for sewage plant upgrades and a new prison in Southwest Virginia. […] Kaine said environmental programs and prisons are financed with income and sales taxes, which can be used to pay off debt on capital projects. He said he cannot support borrowing for roads until lawmakers agree on new long-term revenues to pay off the bonds. Virginia relies on gas taxes – a declining source of revenue – to pay for new roads.” [Virginian-Pilot via Nexis, 12/16/06]

Kaine’s Proposal Raise Taxes To Pay For Transportation Upgrades Contrasted GOP-Controlled Virginia House’s Idea To Borrow Money. From the Washington Times article Crossroads cites to support its claim that Kaine sought a tax hike: “While most Virginia governors have enjoyed several weeks to offer amendments, Mr. Kaine was given the tentative budget about 10 days before the end of the fiscal year. The more than 150-day budget deadlock centered on how to generate new money for the state’s overcrowded roads and mass transit system. The House wanted to use part of the state’s projected $1.4 billion surplus and free up additional money in the General Fund through long-term borrowing. The Senate and Mr. Kaine wanted to raise as much as $1 billion a year in new taxes. In the end, the two-year proposal provides $568 million in new money for roads — $339 million of that is contingent upon a long-term revenue source being established before Nov. 1. The General Assembly agreed to take up transportation in a special session this fall.” [Washington Times, 6/27/06]

Largest Of Tax Hikes Kaine Proposed Over His Tenure Were Aimed At Funding Transportation. From PolitiFact: “Kaine led the state from 2006 to 2010. Katie Wright, Allen’s director of communications, sent us a breakdown of supposed tax-increases advanced by Kaine. The largest proposed hikes, from 2006 through 2008, were aimed at raising money for Virginia’s overcrowded roads. […] By our count, Kaine proposed raising about $4 billion in new taxes — $1 billion in 2006, $1.1 billion in 2008 and $1.9 billion in 2009. Of those increases, the 2008 plan represented a second attempt to raise new road funding, and the 2009 proposal would have been partially offset by a $650 million reduction in local car taxes.” [, 4/16/11]

[MAN 1:] Tim Kaine called himself, quote, “a great budget cutter.” Really? [MAN 2:] Kaine inherited a $1.2 billion budget surplus. [WOMAN 1:] But as governor, Tim Kaine left us with a $4.2 billion budget shortfall. [WOMAN 2:] Then on Kaine’s watch, Virginia’s debt increased nearly 50 percent. [MAN 3:] And every budget Kaine proposed had tax increases. [WOMAN 3:] Kaine proposed a billion dollars in tax hikes [WOMAN 4:] in just his first year as governor. [MAN 4:] Sounds like Kaine was really a great tax increaser. [WOMAN 5:] Tell Tim Kaine: We can’t afford more debt and higher taxes. [Americans for Prosperity via, 6/22/12]